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Monday, April 02, 2012

Palm Sunday

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Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple.."-Mark 11:7-11a

Palm Sunday is observed in the Church every year. It marks the moment, as recorded above, when Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem. As he arrived at the city, the crowds gathered and, as was the tradition when a monarch entered a city, laid their cloaks and palm branches in his path. They celebrated by shouting Hosanna, which means "save us, we pray," and they cheered their coming hero. Of course, the passage is loaded with irony considering that the crowds would soon be shouting "crucify him!" It is common to assume that these same people who welcomed him one day, turned on him the next day, but this is not necessarily the case, instead we should remember Jerusalem was a significant city and there was unlikely to have been tremendous overlap between the people outside the city who were welcoming Jesus and those who wanted him dead.

I share all this with you to show the depth of the Palm Sunday story. It is not just a simple celebration, but is instead a complex ritual bringing Jesus into conversation with the political leaders of the day. As we consider our faith in light of this story it is equally important for us to remember the richness of that faith; its depth and breadth, and to cultivate that in our own lives. When we celebrate Christ, what exactly are we celebrating? Who do we believe he is in our lives? Questions like these often have superficially simple answers, but are also much more complex if we simply allow them to be. Jesus is in our lives, the Lord and Savior for whom we have been praying. But what does that really mean?

Prayer: Holy God, on this day please fill me with faith and hope in you. I want to follow Christ, and I want to go where he leads me. Help me to find the way. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

[Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]


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