Palm Sunday

Blog Bulletin 

Published on: Thursday March 21 2024, 3:28 pm

Time is a funny thing. It can seem so quick, and it can seem so slow. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, it is only eight days, but it can feel like a lifetime as we journey through the days of Holy Week. Equally it’s possible to dash from day one to day eight and barely register all the details in between.

For Jesus and those following him I can imagine though it was a strange paradox of both. The events of Palm Sunday as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, celebrated by the crowds, palm branches waving and shouts of hosanna, must have been incredible to behold. And then Jesus goes and overturns the tables and the Temple the following day, he teaches openly and electrifies the crowds, perhaps even more so than on previous visits to Jerusalem. The enmity of the Pharisees and the Sadducees grows greater and greater, but they seem powerless to stop him. I can imagine that people were getting more and more excited about the possibility that this was the Messiah, this Rabbi would be the one to free them from the hated Roman yoke, to begin God’s Kingdom here on Earth, as he himself was proclaiming: the kingdom of God is at hand.

But then it all goes horribly wrong. Jesus is arrested in the early hours of the Friday morning, when most people were still sleeping off the effects of the Passover meal, and by noon he has been tried, condemned, and is hanging on a cross, a sign nailed above his head “this is the king of the Jews”. All their hopes and dreams are in dust and ashes yet again.

And then suddenly just after dawn on the Sunday the whisper begins: he’s alive! Jesus has risen from the dead! His body is missing, and the tomb is empty. Some of the women among his disciples have seen him – alive! Not a ghost! And then more and more people say that, including Cleopas and his wife who met him on the road to Emmaus. And so, it goes on. It is unstoppable.

The stories of Holy Week in the gospels are wonderful, and what may at first be dismissed as discrepancies or irrelevant details in them actually bring an incredible humanity and sense of immediacy and eyewitness to them. After all, these are the accounts collated by the communities of believers from stories told by those who knew and walked with Jesus and went through those days. Whether the days are short or long to you, whether you find yourself in church only on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, or can come through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday as well, or whether you find yourself unable to come to church at all, may you find the time to reflect again on these gospel accounts and upon these days. For in these stories, the old system is ended, and the new system begun. The old covenant is brought to a close, and the new covenant is begun. The old creation with all things ending in death is itself put to death upon the Cross and the new creation begins with the resurrection of Christ on the first day of the new week, in a garden, just like in the very Beginning. For in Christ, all things are made new, and in him all power rests, for he is indeed our King.

Revd. Talisker

Photo by Grant Whitty on Unsplash