Palm Friday- getting excited a few days early

If you spent your childhood in church you may well have varying memories of Palm Sunday- re-enacting the story, colouring in pictures and wondering what is going on, following (if you were lucky) a real donkey around your church and watching the vicar try not to cry if if pooed inside the porch… and then, there’s the crosses- the little palm crosses which, if you were me, you always tried to tear apart just because they were so strong- clearly an early indication that I was going to love dissection and biomechanics!

But what about the actual events? You know, the thing we’re remembering? Its the prequel to Easter, the first chapter of the final novel, the opening scene of Act 4… the beginning of the Passion.

Of course, the problem is that for most of the world outside the church (and even most of the world outside of the more established church groups- so thats around half of the Christians in the UK), Palm Sunday is pretty much a nothing event-there’re no meaningful presents (woohoo, a small origami cross made out of a leaf), no bank holiday, no seasonal cards or aisles in Tesco’s to remind us of it…

But actually, if you read the accounts- its in all of the Gospels in one form or another, then this is a seriously significant event- Jesus approaches Jerusalem, knowing that he’s unpopular with the religious authorities. He doesn’t do it subtly, but for a change allows himself to behave as the king- acclaimed by the crowds, speaking words of sorrow and love over the city as a ruler might, unstoppable in this moment he enters the Temple and brings justice… when the people hail him with ‘Hosanna!’ and cheer him as the king, he doesn’t hush them or tell them to keep it secret as he so often has… just try to shut them up! This is the day when Jesus lets the world in on it- he is the chosen one, the messiah, the king- but still not quite what people expected… on the way he heals a blind man and speaks about generosity, he comes in peace bringing justice, not in war to overthrow the oppressive regime…

This is a day for the curious, the questioning, the enquirers and the seekers- come and see, come and check this out! So why not let them in on the event this year… there’s still time to invite your mates and your neighbours, to wave and cheer… Here comes the king!!

 

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