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Palm Sunday Reflection

Palm Sunday is, in so many ways, a day fraught with tensions. Being enthusiastic and joyful about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is difficult when we know what follows. Unlike the people in that original crowd, we celebrate Palm Sunday fully aware of how that same crowd were days later shouting “crucify!” instead of “hosanna”. We know the end yet walk this way with songs of praise.

Imagine the surge of hope the people who lined the streets felt as they saw Zechariah’s prophecy fulfilled.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!

Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!

See, your king comes to you,

Righteous and victorious,

Lowly and riding on a donkey,

On a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Back in 2008 when Barak Obama was elected the next President of the United States, there was a surge of hope not just in America but across the world. Earlier in his campaign he said Hope is that thing inside that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.

As well as the big surges of hope like these there can be quiet private ones prompted perhaps by a little green hump of a pea shoot emerging from the soil in our garden or an unexpected handwritten letter from a loved one.

We need to focus on the Palm Sundays in our lives. And we need to shout more, take to the streets, cheering, pointing out to others along the road: Look what is happening! This is new! This is different! This is hopeful!  

Does it remind you of anything?  8 o’clock on Thursday night perhaps?

The surges of hope are like the sparks that light the flame. But the real work is sustaining the hope, keeping the flame burning to help it light up the world.

We are living in an extraordinary time of change and we are still trying to work out what it all means. The path ahead may not be clear but the surges of hope, the big loud ones and the small private quiet ones are signposts stationed by God to guide us. Watch for them and listen. This is the way! Praise God and shout Hosanna!

Remember that our hopes and the hopes of the crowd wanting a king, are in the end not disappointed, because ultimately on the cross we know that our king claims his power and begins his reign as peacemaker, reconciler, saviour of the world, beginning an eternal reign that death cannot destroy.

"Just as Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he also rides into our hearts."

What will he find there, in your heart?  In mine?

Whatever is there, this is the day to open up and welcome him.  That means unbattening the hatches and allowing him in. Whether you can welcome him with Hosannas or prefer to let him quietly enter a heart that feels heavy, or fragile, or broken, he will keep the precious flame of hope alive.

The Palm Sunday hymn says: “Ride on!  Ride on in majesty!  In lowly pomp ride on to die … the angel armies of the sky look down with sad and wondering eyes to see the approaching sacrifice.  Ride on! Ride on in majesty!”

As we ride on through whatever is in our lives and on our hearts, through God’s grace, may we know that we do not ride alone. 

Dear loving God

Help us to be open to the blossoming of hope

that comes in an unexpected ray of you

shining through the expected, the usual, the conventional

– breaking open our hearts with joy.

We ask this in the name of Jesus, the man who still astonishes us.

Amen

 

Palm Sunday.    

It's going to be Palm Sunday this weekend and it looks as if the weather will be glorious. Perfect for a procession if only we could!  If you have saved your palm cross from last year, please put it in your window so that those able to take some outdoor exercise will be reminded of the day.  A stem or two of Pussy Willow would be good instead as the traditional country alternative. Or you could get creative and make a palm cross from paper or grasses or big leaves.

 

                         

 

Unfortunately all our Lent and Easter.meetings and services are cancelled. 

Last updated Tuesday 17 March 2020 at 13:30

In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice. 

Churches should be open where possible but with no public worship services taking place. Prayers can be said by clergy and ministers on behalf of everyone and churches should consider ways of sharing this with the wider community.