Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday
March 26, 2015
"And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blesseed is the he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem."
This is the biblical event we commemorate when we celebrate Palm Sunday. The service is structured to allow worshippers to enact this experience and to allow ourselves actually to enter into the experience of welcoming Jesus. Then, shockingly, we experience being part of the mob rejecting Jesus.
Our service begins outside the church where the palms are blessed and distributed to the people. After a prayer and scripture reading the celebrant offers the blessing: "It is right to praise you, Almighty God, for the acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. On this day he entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way. Let these branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever."
We will then then process into the church, waving our palms to welcome our King. Inside we sing an appropriate hymn such as "All Glory, Laud and Honor" or "Ride on, Ride on in Majesty" and lay our palms in the aisle of the church.
But then the mood quickly changes as it did on that historic day. "Hosannas!" change to shouts of "Crucify Him!" and hymns change to "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded."
The scene is now set for the rest of the Great THree Days leading up to the glory of the Resurrection.