Saturday 27 March 2021

Palm Sunday 2021 Mark 11v1-11,


The wilderness and the dry lands shall blossom

The wasteland will be cultivated

It will bring forth flowers like a rose.

The desert will flood with water

The wasteland run with streams

The scorched earth will become as a lake

And the parched land, spring with water.




God of life we give thanks

For your wonderful world

For blackbirds and sparrows

For seagulls and robins

For worms and snails

For bees and beetles

For tadpoles and frogs

For your lasting love. 


We are sorry that we have broken the gift of your beautiful world and almost destroyed it, through being greedy and by just thinking of ourselves. We are sorry.  

Help us to love one another and look after your world. Amen


The Lord’s Prayer in our own language


Reading Mark 11v1-11


Reflection  "Duplicity” 


Jesus' entry into Jerusalem introduces the final days of his ministry prior to his arrest and crucifixion, In tradition, certainly from the 4th century, Jesus spent a week in Jerusalem (Palm Sunday to Easter). Jesus has told his disciples to leave the road and go to Bethany on the side road where they will find the colt. In accord with the arrangements, Jesus underlines his intention to return the animal to its owner when its task is completed.


The animal is tethered out in the street, "at the door", rather than in a stable or yard, ready to be picked up as arranged. They found the colt untied it and there were some people standing there. They questioned the disciples actions. Presumably the owner is not at home. This is why the owner has tethered the animal out the front. They answered, "The lord/master has need of it", which satisfied the bystanders. They threw their cloaks over it in place of a saddle.They spread out, or strew "branches", bits of straw, rushes, leaves, from the fields. 


Jesus was surrounded by people. They started to cry "Hosanna" which means save us we pray, save us now. the pilgrims' blessing of Psalm 118:25-26, Jesus is acclaimed by the people as the coming Messiah. A fulfilment of prophesy. The context of the ride into Jerusalem we remember from John’s gospel, is the healing and raising from the dead of Lazarus. Why else would the people suddenly recognize who Jesus was...Why else would they process and chant in such a manner? Mary the sister of Lazarus recognised this when she took the perfume and poured it over Jesus "for the day of his burial"(John 12v7). The plot has thickened, the chief priests are planning to kill Jesus and Lazarus because of this raising from the dead.


And so you get this commotion, this riot, this revolution. It is very surprising that when the secret is out, Jesus fully acknowledges who he is and enjoyed for a moment the adulation and the full meaning of him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. For a moment the mood was different. And the disciples did not understand what was going on until they looked back on events.


And so we have before us a story of love and hate. A story of duplicity. Jesus has stirred up such feelings in people that some love him, worship him and some are threatened by him, because he is too powerful for them too good, too popular. But hang on a moment don’t we have these thoughts too. Aren't their people we hate, envy, because they show us up and they're more popular than us. Do we sometimes hurt them, consciously or unconsciously, overtly or secretly? Maybe there are people in our own families amongst our friends who we feel in two minds about, or even in one nasty mind.


Time and time again the gospels tell us that Jesus knew the people and the implication is that he knew they were not sincere. It is the knowledge of a mature person. And how right he was. 


These crazy pilgrims that followed Jesus on the first Palm Sunday and recognized who he was were passionate. Maybe we need their passion. It will not come from cajoling. It will not come from sermons. It will come when something touches your life. It will come in prayer, in silence, through really hearing the gospels and through seeing love in action or being loved. 


It may come through the dreadful time we are all going through now, as a result of COVID 19. Maybe this will knock sense into us about what is really important in life, as we feel the presence of death and uncertainty and are deprived of many things and social interaction, and our families. 


May God be with us and our flakiness, our duplicity at this time in history. May God shape us to become more than our lowest selves and to let God work in us. Amen


Song  “Hosanna”


The eyes of the blind will be opened

The ears of the deaf will be unstopped

The lame shall leap like a deer

And the tongue of the dumb shall sing.




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