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Archive for March 28th, 2021

My first memories of Palm Sunday were as a young child, on a bright Sunday morning, in my grandmother’s church, deep in the rural woodlands on Canada’s East Coast. The children of the Sunday School were each given a palm branch. At a designated point in the Sunday service we were to walk from back to front and back again in the sanctuary, waving our branches and saying

“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

The congregation smiled encouragingly. Then the pastor instructed all to join in our joyful, hope-filled announcement.

Shortly after, the service ended and we all went home.

Palm branches and excitement over the arrival of a man, a king, on a donkey all but forgot.

This is what Palm Sunday is … excitement then apathy, it is the height of the people’s love for this king, yet it leads to the hardest week for Him, as he walked the road to sacrifice so as to provide the way for the greatest height for us.

This triumphal entry, parallels, yet so different from his pilgrimage on the Path of Sorrows (Via Dolorosa) to Calvary. This trek, leading from his place of torture and sentencing, to his place of death. No palm branches, no joyful, hope-filled exclamations from the crowds in the street.

Today, Palm Sunday, joyful and hope-filled as it was, as it is, is a window into the fickleness of our human race. In less than a week, those who followed him went from

“blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord!”

to

“crucify him”

We, who follow him today, are not that different.

Palm Sunday is the beginning of the end, of the beginning. We must check our cheers of hallelujah today … ensuring that our joy in Him lasts longer than this day. For darkness will come into each of our lives and we will need this King to save us.

A Sonnet for Palm Sunday
Malcolm Guite

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,

The seething holy city of my heart,

The saviour comes. But will I welcome him?

Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;

They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,

And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find

The challenge, the reversal he is bringing

Changes their tune. I know what lies behind

The surface flourish that so quickly fades;

Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,

The hardness of the heart, its barricades,

And at the core, the dreadful emptiness

Of a perverted temple. Jesus come

Break my resistance and make me your home.

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