“Lifting us to the heights of God”, Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012

Title:“Lifting us to the heights of God”, Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday is the hinge between Lent and Easter. It is the turning point for Jesus at the end of his Ministry and the beginning of his confrontation with the authorities that would lead to his death. For us, it begins Holy Week.

Palm Sunday, 2012 - Hosanna

We had 35 proclaim "Hosanna" at the Liturgy of the Palms, remembering Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem and then proceeding into St. Peter’s. (We thank the Allwines for providing the palms).  57 were in attendance for the regular service. While cloudy the sun opened on us just at the beginning for awhile.  Here is a photo gallery of the day. The bulletin is here.

This was a different Palm Sunday divided into three parts 1. Procession with "All Glory Laud and Honor" 2.  Passion Readings  3. Holy Communion. There was no sermon.

Part 1 featured "All Glory Laud" plus annoucements and background to the readings by Catherine. There was a special Prayers of the People.

Part 2 was somewhat like "Lessons and Carols" at Christmas with readings and hymns/Choir anthems except there was more of the former.  It was an extremely moving service with the music complementing the readings. 

Choir - Philippians

The passion readings are here. We had nine readers in all. The story covers all of Easter Week in the Gospel according to Mark. Mark is a prime source for Luke and Matthew so it is an important focus for this year.

Palm Sunday 2012 - Eunice

Marcus Borg describes the setting on that first Palm Sunday at the beginning of Jewish festival Passover:

“From the east, Jesus rode a donkey down the Mount of Olives, cheered by his followers. Jesus was from the peasant village of Nazareth, his message was about the kingdom of God, and his followers came from the peasant class. They had journeyed to Jerusalem from Galilee, about a hundred miles to the north, a journey that is the central section and the central dynamic of Mark’s gospel. Mark’s story of Jesus and the kingdom of God has been aiming for Jerusalem, pointing toward Jerusalem. It has now arrived. On the opposite side of the city, from the west, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Idumea, Judea, and Samaria, entered Jerusalem at the head of a column of imperial cavalry and soldiers”

The Emperor was considered to be a god, the Romans were rich, powerful. Some of the Jewish leaders could be seen as collaborators 

The peasant procession had been foretold According to Zechariah, a king would be coming to Jerusalem (Zion) "humble, and riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey." 

Jesus had arranged a demonstration and it was more than about the Romans. It had an anti-temple dimension, speaking for forgiveness away from the temple. Mark’s Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God. It was about the already present kingdom of God that is also yet to come in its fullness. A very different place from the Roman Kingdom and even the Jewish control of institutions.

As Pope Benedict has said. “The ultimate goal of his pilgrimage was the heights of God himself; to those heights he wanted to lift every human being”…  He knew that in the mysterious gifts of bread and wine he would give himself for ever to his own, and that he would open to them the door to a new path of liberation, to fellowship with the living God."  

So too the symbol of the cross. The cross by the time Mark wrote his Gospel was a path, one of entering a new life by dying to an old life. It was means of personal transformation, not a passive symbol. That is the gift of the resurrection. At the time Mark wrote there was persecution for the Christians and Jews so that the resurrection was a real promise for them as it is in our time.

Tierra with cross April 1, 2012

After the service we enjoyed coffee hour with chile soup provided by Stanley and Catherine’s lentil soup and braided bread, with cheese, cookies and cupcakes.  

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