Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Matthew 21:1-11 (NRSV)
When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Today we enter into Holy Week in much the same way that Jesus entered Jerusalem: with the waving of palm branches and excitement. Our excitement, however, is a little different from that of the disciples because we know what’s coming. After the joyous celebration of today, we will observe the darkness of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Some of us will celebrate an Easter vigil late into the evening on Saturday. We will then be up early on Sunday morning to participate in a sunrise service. As a member of the clergy, my body is already anticipating the exhaustion it will feel next Sunday afternoon, but it is always an exhaustion that is mixed with exhilaration.
Wait a minute. I must slow down because I am getting ahead of myself. Today is not Easter. It is Palm Sunday and we still have a whole week of ups and downs to go through. Jesus’ followers had a tendency to get ahead of themselves, too. To them this day was the point at which Jesus would take control of his kingdom, Israel. It was a victory, but not the one they expected.
As we celebrate Holy Week, let us remember that we do indeed celebrate the victory of God through Jesus, but that the victory was not one by an armed conquering king, but by a suffering servant riding to his fate on a donkey.
Lord of Glory, we shout along with the crowd, “Hosanna! Blessed are you who comes in the name of the Lord.” Give us strength this week as we remember and enter into the events of your passion and death. Sustain us through the promise of your resurrection. Amen.
Go with God.