Yesterday we read about Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a Donkey. He seems to be drawing on Old Testament prophesies which suggest that he is the promised King who would come to save the people of God from their enemies. This explains why so many people responded to his act by speading cloaks and palm branches over the road. This act of celebration which marks the start of the final week of Jesus' ministry on earth stands in stark contrast to the events a few days later, when the crowds who exclaimed 'hosanna! hosanna!' would cry out to Pilate 'crucify! crucify!'
Out of the same mouth come both blessings and curses.
Many churches hand out palm leaves during the Palm Sunday service which people might raise up and wave as they read the story. There is a curious practice which follows this, whereby the palms used one year will, in the next year, be burned for the ashes on Ash Wednesday, when the people are marked with ashes on their foreheads as a sign of their repentance. This service is aways the start of Lent. It is a way of acknowledging the fact that we, like the people of Jerusalem, will on one day praise God and the next curse him. In a way these traditions give us the space and the words to be honest about the fickleness of our own hearts and to find those aspects of ourselves in the story of God. We are assured then that no sin; doubt; or failure is outside the power of Christ to redeem.
There are many opportunities this week to mark the events of Holy Week with events Downtown Hope are planning or events some with our friends in other Christian communities. We suggest:
- Maundy Thursday including an overnight vigil at St Anne's
- Good Friday
- Holy Saturday Egg Hunt at Annapolis EP (especially for children)
- Easter Sunday at Bates Middle School at 10am