Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018

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Title:Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018

 Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018 (full size gallery)

 

What a contrast between last Wednesday with the snow and the beautiful morning on Palm Sunday, March 25 with low 50’s, not too much wind and plenty of sunshine. Just 4 days apart! We had 44 in service adding a celebration of Cheryl’s birthday.

The Children love the Liturgy of the Palms retracing entrance into Jerusalem. It lets them make noise and spread the word through Port Royal. Helping us this week with that event and the service was the Rev. Ron Okrasinski.

The Gospel from Mark was read with 4 readers from the Vestry – Johnny, Catherine and Elizabeth and Helmut. Mark’s Gospel emphasizes Jesus suffering and the unfairness of the proceedings above all

The sermon was reflection of the March for our Lives attended by Catherine, Susan Tilt and Andrea Pogue and St. Paul’s rector Lee Kandiya. "Ultimately, the politics of this march were broader and deeper than party politics. The politics on display by the speakers yesterday were about politics in its truest and deepest sense—the politics of how we live together as people in this nation. "

A highlight of the offertory was the singing of "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus" from the Epistle reading. Philippians 2:5-11. Dr. Bill Roberts, the author of the music, is a professor at Virginia Theological Seminary.

The hymns were well known this week – "All Glory Laud and Honor", "O Sacred Head". Many of the events described are included in part of our video page.

The service bulletin is here. The lectionary readings are here.

Palm Sunday is the hinge between Lent and Holy Week.Lent has been the 40 day season of fasting and spiritual preparation intended to understand in practices, ritual and disciplines critical to living in the way of Jesus and Holy Week. Holy Week is a time of more intense fasting, reading and prayers in which we pay particular attention to the final days, suffering, and execution of Jesus.

While Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem,  the events of that day set in motion Jesus’ death 5 days later before the Passover begins. Zechariah had forecast "Zion’s king" coming "righteous and victorious" on a donkey. It looked like Jesus was proclaiming himself King of Israel to the anger of some of the Jewish authorities.

Palm Sunday has two liturgies – the Liturgy of the Palms where we consider Jesus arrival in Jerusalem from Galilee and the Liturgy of the Passion, a foreshadowing of Holy Week. 

We gathered for "Liturgy of the Palms", this year from Mark and processed into the church. At this Jesus knows what’s about to happen – "you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden."

The Gospels go on to recount how Jesus rode into Jerusalem in the midst of the Passover and how the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. Traditionally, entering the city on a donkey symbolizes arrival in peace, rather than as a war-waging king arriving on a horse. This has been foretold in scripture by Zechariah, five centuries earlier. 

Jerusalem will be the place of confrontation with the authorities to fulfill what Jesus would know as the final act in his life Jerusalem with its temple was still seen as "the city of God" that called forth Jewish devotion. But it was also the center of a local domination system, the center of the ruling class, the center of great wealth, and the center of collaboration with Rome.

Palm Sunday summons us to accept both the rule and the kingdom of God as the goal and content of our Christian life. It is about the kingdom. In the first century, "kingdom" was a political term. Jesus’s hearers (and Mark’s community) knew of and lived under kingdoms: the kingdoms of Herod and his sons, the kingdom of Rome.

Jesus talks about a different Kingdom -not the kingdom the people expected. “The Kingdom of God is within us when God reigns in us, when the soul in its depths confesses God as its Master, and is obedient to Him in all its powers. Then God acts within it as master ‘both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ (Philippians 2:13).

The kingdom of God is the life of the Holy Trinity in the world. It is the kingdom of holiness, goodness, truth, beauty, love, peace and joy. These qualities are not works of the human spirit. They proceed from the life of God and reveal God. Christ Himself is the kingdom.

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