Sunday Worship Reflections
April 5th Palm Sunday Hymns: Give thanks to the Lord
Make way, make way
Reading – Matthew 21: 1-11 Ride on, Ride on in majesty
Today we begin the heightened drama of the walk through a week known as holy. Christmas we have traced the life of Jesus through his birth, childhood, Baptism and preparation in the wilderness, and touched on the main areas of his ministry; and now we come to that final week of his earthly life. All the Gospel writers move into noticeably greater detail in their narratives, with these events taking up a sizeable proportion of each Gospel. The words and events are carefully and thoroughly recorded, in keeping with the intense significance of these days which focus all of life before them and all that has happened since.
Quite deliberately, the readings and liturgy take us on a roller-coaster of spiritual experience. We stand with the ecstatic crowds waving palm branches and celebrating the entry into Jerusalem, the holy city, by Jesus the Messiah. There is great hope and expectation that final things are drawing to accomplishment. We are poignantly aware that Jesus is both acknowledging the crowd's excitement at his kingship and also trying to show them something of the true nature of his kingship which has nothing to do with temporal power and wealth or narrow nationalism.
And then we are gripped by the detailed seriousness of all that led up to the crucifixion, like a profound family memory indelibly written on hearts and handed down with great care and reverence from generation to generation. We both cry out against what is happening and also know it to be necessary and inevitable. We both balk at the way people could treat Jesus, the Lord of life, and also know that we do it ourselves every day. We recognise the utter failure and futility of it all and also know it to be the strangest and most complete victory for the entire world.