Palm Sunday and Holy Week
The references for Morning Prayer this week are as follows:
Tuesday 31 March 2015 (p.69 – 71) Psalm 27, Lam 3: 1-18, Luke 22: 1 – 23
Wednesday 1 April 2015 (p.74 – 76) Psalm 102, Jer 11: 18 – 20, Luke 22: 54 – 71
Thursday 2 April 2015 (p.80 – 82) Psalm 42, Lev 16: 2 – 24
Friday 3 April 2015 (p.84 - 87) Psalm 69, Gen 22: 1 – 18, Hebrews 10: 1 - 10
Prayer begins each morning (Tues - Fri) - 8.45 a.m.
We use A New Zealand Prayer Book (the red book)
How do we use the book? Prayers are said aloud with the leader reading the feint print and the congregation reading the bold print. When we get to the numbered sections they are read antiphonally i.e. the leader saying the first part up to the colon, the congregation the second part.
Each morning the lectionary has a set Psalm and bible readings for Morning Prayer. We say the psalms antiphonally and we end with “Glory to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now: and shall be forever. Amen.” We take it in turns to read the sections from the bible.
A time of prayer takes place where the prayer book lists activities in bold (see p. 71). We do not do everything written down there. Instead we pray the Collect from the previous Sunday together, we have a time of open prayer and we conclude with The Lord’s Prayer.
Passion Sunday informs Palm Sunday as does Good Friday
Heard of the Maccabiah Games? They’re often referred to as the “Jewish Olympics” and involve competitors from throughout the world.
Judas Maccabeus led the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire in (167–160 BC). He is a hero of Jewish resistance against imperial domination and won independence for the Jews for a period of time. Judas minted his own coins that featured the image of a palm branch. It became a symbol of resistance against oppression.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey he was fulfilling messianic prophecy (never an easy matter to grasp) and was feted by the adoring crowd who waved (significantly) palm branches. It was clear what they expected from him: political leadership.
However a few short days later, when Jesus was on trial before the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, the crowds were yelling, “Crucify him!” What had happened to the vigorous support we revel in when we recall the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday?
The crowd had decided Jesus should be what they wanted him to be, and they got him wrong. Ironically, in heeding the encouragement of the chief priests to demand Jesus’ death, they were aligning themselves with God’s solution to their problems: the crucifixion of the Messiah.
Palm Sunday is preceded by Passion Sunday when we remember the crucifixion, and is followed by Good Friday when we do the same. We would do well to note this.
It’s very easy to try and co-opt God into supporting our priorities. If we have not ensured that God’s and our priorities are aligned, we can become self-serving and ineffective as disciples of Christ.
The cross, and all that it implies, is the central living symbol of Christianity and should be applied to every single aspect of our lives. I mention this now because it is so easy to try and medicate our sins ourselves one way or another. In the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem the common people got it both right and also sadly wrong. It is a reminder of how mixed are our motives, how limited our understanding and how ineffective our own solutions to really important issues – and our eternal destiny is important!
In the first chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Church in Corinth he writes, "but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
Let’s use Palm Sunday this year as a Lenten telescope to look beyond our self-reliance towards complete reliance on the perfect work of Christ on the cross and ensure that it is applied to our lives.
Holy Week Services:
Maundy Thursday 7:30pm Traditional foot (or hand) washing
Good Friday 10:00am Family service - a simple service designed around children
12 noon The Great Three Hours - a service of prayer, readings, reflection & music
Easter Day 8:00am Eucharist
10:00am Family Eucharist
Please see the Service Times page for all services.