Palm Sunday 2022: Askrigg & Busk. Lk.19:28-40
Bishop Nick wrote to all clergy in the diocese this week with some thoughts on Holy Week.
He said that Holy Week ‘confronts us with a reality which is difficult to take. We see people like us – ordinary and fallible followers of Jesus – misunderstanding, falling asleep, betraying, denying, deserting, self-pitying.’
We like to see and hear in others the servant nature of Jesus but can find it so hard to respond in kind.
Holy Week creates so many questions for us and in us. Perhaps that’s why we find it easier not to address them. Perhaps that is why so many will avoid marking or remembering the key events of the world’s salvation, preferring, if at all, to jump through space and time to the lighter more easily consumable festivities of Easter – both sacred and secular.
As the crowd sees Jesus approaching Jerusalem their excitement and expectation begins to rise. More and more join the crowd in anticipation – Jesus has done so much out of the city … what will he do now he’s inside her walls? The crowd begins to worship Jesus. Shouting praise – waving branches in celebration and laying their cloaks on the ground as a sign of honour and welcome.
Q: How do we welcome Jesus into our lives? What does that look like for us personally as well as a church?
Jesus rode into the city on a donkey – not a fine stallion as would befit a conqueror or a man of power and status. It must have looked very strange – perhaps people in the crowd felt awkward watching him enter like this.
Q: What makes us feel awkward about Jesus? How prepared are we to carry Jesus into our lives? Our workplaces, homes, relationships?
The crowd has great expectation of what Jesus will do. They are tired of oppression and looking for a way out of Roman rule. All the signs look good for Jesus being the one who will lead them to freedom. But then the way in which he acquiesces to authority is not what they expected or wanted. It looks like he’s making a mockery of their hopes and dreams as he surrenders without a fight.
Q: How do we deal with our disappointments with God? How do we feel and behave when God doesn’t do what we are wanting or anticipating him to do?
Q: How might we be able to retune our senses to look towards what God is doing rather than focussing on our dissatisfaction as to what he has not done that we thought he should have.
Bishop Nick continues: ‘This Easter brings us face to face with realities that cannot be ignored and which have at the heart of them a cross-shaped confrontation. Mass migration of refugees from the most appalling violence in Ukraine; the culture of lies propagated in Russia, public generosity towards Ukrainian refugees, but silence about Afghans in a similar plight; the energy and cost-of-living crises in the UK and Europe; the acceptance of poverty at home while the rich continue to prosper and widen the inequality gap.
Yet: inspired by a resurrection hope that is never a denial of Friday’s loss and Saturday’s emptiness, we are called to play our part in shaping the future … together … into which God calls us. And we are in this together, for the sake of God and God’s people, and for the sake of God’s beautiful-but-tormented world.’
This Easter is our time for honesty, renewal and response.
Father – The crowd shouted ‘Hosanna. Lord save us’ – As we look at our Palm Cross and remember your love for us, forgive us our pride. Save us from being inwardly focussed. Help us to follow you.
Jesus – The crowd shouted ‘Hosanna. Lord save us’ – As we look at our Palm Cross and remember your love for us, we pray for our family and friends who do not yet know you. Lord save us. Make yourself known to each of them this week
Spirit –The crowd shouted ‘Hosanna. Lord save us’ – As we look at our Palm Cross and remember your love for us, we pray for leaders and all those in positions of authority. Lord save them. May their leadership be noted for their wisdom and humility.
Christ be at the centre of my mind and heart
Christ be at the centre of my thoughts and words
Christ be at the centre of my joy and pain
Christ be at the centre of my home and my journey
Christ be at the centre of my peace and my turmoil
… And as the praises turn to pretence
As the love turns to loathing
and as the delight turns to denial …
May Christ who accepted the cup of sacrifice in obedience to the Father’s will, keep us steadfast in these days as we walk with Him, the way of the cross.