Palm Sunday 2014

On a previous Palm Sunday I wrote:

Today, wherever our Palm Sunday celebration takes place, we are in Roman Palestine two thousand years ago. One question we might ask ourselves is, where do we stand? Are we with the crowd following Jesus and singing hosannas; with the bystanders, looking on from a safe distance; or with those indoors, dismissing what is taking place as just another riotous assembly it is better to keep clear of? Our answer can tell us a great deal about ourselves and the way in which we see the unfolding of Holy Week.

Holy Week is quite brutal in the way in which it demands choice from us. If, during the rest of the year, we are rather unremarkable Christians, regular in our church-going and dutiful in giving to good causes, but keen to avoid drawing attention to ourselves and definitely not the stuff of which martyrs are made, this week reminds us that in following Christ we have made the most radical choice imaginable, one we must live to the end. We cannot simply bumble along the way; we must deliberately choose to follow wherever Christ leads.

I think today I would want to nuance that a little. This is the first time I’ve been unable to take part in the Palm Sunday Mass and Procession; so this year I am not among the followers singing hosannas but among the bystanders who look on from afar. Does that mean I am any less involved? Surely not.

There are many ways of following; many ways of being close to the Lord. One of the hardest is to feel we have no choice, are unable to follow in the way we would wish. It is important to remember, however, that the essence of discipleship is to follow as the Lord chooses. We must all accompany Jesus on the journey to Jerusalem, to Calvary and beyond. How we get there, when we get there, doesn’t matter. We can trust him to show us the way. ‘I would be at Jerusalem,’ says the Pilgrim in Hilton’s Scale of Perfection. That is all that matters.


5 thoughts on “Palm Sunday 2014”

  1. We had a concert of the passion in our parish church yesterday evening. The visiting choir were brilliant. One lady took my eye as she unlike all of the rest of the choir didn’t use any music from folders, but sang beautifully the whole way through.

    I wondered at her ability to sing unassisted and discovered later that she is actually blind and this had helped to to memorize every word and note of the concert planned. An inspiration for me today as I contemplate the blindness of the Jewish people who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, yet secretly plotting his downfall.

    Than today, the procession of the Palms, something that I haven’t participated in since my RC Childhood, we processed to a local baptist church singing all the way. There the congregations joined to jointly sing Hosanna before we processed back to our own Church for the Eucharist and a dramatized version of Matthews Gospel. I was given the part of Pilate to read, which I found (getting into the part) washing my hands of Jesus’ blood, seemed not an absolution, but an abdication of responsibility. πŸ™

    All in all, a wonderful start to Holy Week in my vibrant new parish. Just cant wait to start training for Licensed Lay Ministry in September πŸ™‚

  2. The long palm fronds were spread out on a table in the foyer of our church, as we entered we could smell the fresh green scent – it had snowed again in the morning, so this was a welcome reassurance Spring wouldn’t be long in coming!

    Harold lit the votive candles, having made the offering and prayers for U.K. Viewer’s newly diagnosed diabetes, for all diabetics, for Big Sis and all who read this blog who are enduring health issues. Our congregation join in a communal rosary as we await the start of Mass, so even more appropriate these prayers were offered with everyone imploring “holy Mary mother of God pray for us sinners…”

    We processed, palm fronds and parishoners duly blessed with the sprinkling of holy water, and then the powerful readings. I always feel a foreboding with Passion Sunday, beautiful as it is, and thought last evening how this builds throughout Holy Week, and how reassuring it is to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, what a gift Holy Week is year after year. – Jean

  3. I guess I could have done something with palms with my little Sunday school children (aged 6-7) years but instead I did my favourite lesson Ps 34 v 8. We used tubes of icing to write “Lord” on biscuits and then ate them to see that they tasted good. It’s my last ever lesson with them so I wanted it to be something to remember

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