On Sunday we enter into Holy Week with what’s often called Palm/Passion Sunday. Holy Week, in its entirety, begins on Palm Sunday as we remember Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper and the giving of a new commandment. The word “maundy” comes from the Latin word for “mandate” and Jesus gives a new mandate to “love one another as I have loved you.” On Good Friday we traverse the desolation and despair of the crucifixion and on Easter morning we celebrate the risen Christ! Because many of us don’t have the opportunity to make our way through all of the nuances of each day of Holy Week, the church often celebrates Palm/Passion Sunday on Palm Sunday to give people of faith an opportunity to experience the breadth and depth of the Holy Week story. Otherwise, if we check in only on Palm Sunday and Easter, we go straight from “Hosanna” to “Hallelujah” and miss so much of the critical journey in between.
For that reason, our service will be slightly different this week as we celebrate Palm/Passion Sunday. We’ll begin with a Palm Sunday text and conclude with the reading of the Passion or the crucifixion. I invite you to let the Holy Week story percolate in you this week as we prepare ourselves for the glory of Easter morning. Our final spiritual practice in our Lenten Series “Spiritual Practices for the Wilderness,” is the breath prayer. Click here for a link to that video. The breath prayer is short and simple, one that we are able to pray again and again with each breath we take. It is especially helpful in times of sorrow or angst or “wilderness.” I can’t think of a better practice or a better prayer for Holy Week as we journey with Jesus toward and beyond the cross.
I hope you’ll join us for online worship at 9:00 as we offer our praise and thanks to God, as we connect with God’s love, community and call and as we explore our faith together. Please know that all are welcome to join the Wednesday Bible Study that reviews the scripture and sermon topic from the previous Sunday and reflects on the questions that are listed below. If you’re interested in joining us from 11:30 to 12:30 on Wednesdays, please notify the church office or Pastor Lori and we’ll send you the Zoom link. Drop-ins are welcome! Looking forward to being together on Sunday!
Mark 11:1-11 (NRSV)
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Questions to consider:
- What are your memories of Holy Week? What days/events/services in Holy Week resonate with your spirit? What days/events/services in Holy Week trouble your spirit?
- How would you describe the people who greeted Jesus in Jerusalem with shouts of hosanna? What do you think they expected? What were their hopes?
- How do you make sense of “Good Friday?” How is it “good?”
- What is your practice/how will you let the Holy Week story percolate in you as we move toward Easter?