Palm Sunday – 4.1.12

Palm Sunday weekend is becoming one of my favorite times to be a part of the church. Not just because I think kids waving palm branches is adorable (which I do), but because I love the image of Christ, our Savior and King, humbly entering the streets of Jerusalem riding in on a lowly donkey. To me, it’s just one more example of how different the Jesus we expect to appear often is from the one who actually does. It was through this lens that we crafted the following, with space for prayer, scripture, and a corporate reading from the Book of Common Prayer.


Today we join with Christians around the world and celebrate Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Crowds that day filled the street, laying palm branches symbolizing Jesus’ goodness and victory down at his feet. They welcomed this man they believed would save them from the Roman Empire, and today we join them, as we welcome the savior of the world.


Matthew 21:4-9 The Message

This is the full story of what was sketched earlier by the prophet: Tell Zion’s daughter, “Look, your king’s on his way, poised and ready, mounted. On a donkey, on a colt, foal of a pack animal.”

The disciples went and did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They led the donkey and colt out, laid some of their clothes on them, and Jesus mounted. Nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, “Hosanna to David’s son!” “Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!” “Hosanna in highest heaven!”


God, we stand here today expectantly, waiting. We know that you are in our midst, already moving, and we thank you for your presence.

We confess that we can often turn this time of waiting into something other than a time of surrender and openness. It’s so easy to be waiting for something specific to happen, something we desire, something we want on our terms.

If we’re honest, sometimes we also want a savior who fits with our own agendas and needs. It’s really easy to do since almost everything else in our lives is based on us, our own ideas of how things should be. Maybe we expect Jesus to be some sort of genie, giving us whatever we want or as some sort of parental figure, always watching, waiting to reprimand us when we make a mistake. Or maybe what we would really like is for Jesus to just love us unconditionally. None of these are completely wrong, but they limit all of who Jesus is.

God, forgive us for the times when we are better at making Christ in our own image instead of working to recreate ourselves in his.

Allow us to use these next few moments to simply be, expecting only your presence and leaving the rest up to you. 


Let us proclaim together the words of Andrew of Crete,

“Let us say to Christ: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel. Let us wave before him like palm branches the words inscribed about him on the cross. Let us show him honor, not with olive branches, but with the splendor of merciful deeds to one another. Let us spread the thoughts and desires of our hearts under his feet like garments, so that he may draw the whole of our being into himself and place the whole of his in us.”



Posted by Aaron Niequist on 04.05.12 under Lead Worship, Weekend Experience.

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