Liturgy of the Palms

Liturgy of the Palms (April 1, 2012)

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Mark 11:1-11

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.

Let all Israel repeat:
    “His faithful love endures forever.”

19 Open for me the gates where the righteous enter,
    and I will go in and thank the Lord.
20 These gates lead to the presence of the Lord,
    and the godly enter there.
21 I thank you for answering my prayer
    and giving me victory!

22 The stone that the builders rejected
    has now become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing,
    and it is wonderful to see.
24 This is the day the Lord has made.
    We will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Please, Lord, please save us.
    Please, Lord, please give us success.
26 Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God, shining upon us.
    Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you!
    You are my God, and I will exalt you!

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.

Currently during our Sunday School time we are studying Faith Lessons.  Pam wrote several posts at Christmas about this.  Several weeks ago, we looked at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  It turns out that the events recorded in the Gospels really weren’t that out of the ordinary.  The Jewish people had been looking for a savior, who would come out of the east riding on a donkey, especially during the period of Passover.  Jesus met many of the criteria for this savior.  This had happened several times over the previous 100 year, so much so that the Romans had extra guards stationed at the garrison in Jerusalem.

Two things that I learned were 1.) Hosanna isn’t so much a cry of praise but a cry for deliverance – it means help us or save us. The Jewish people were looking for deliverance from the Romans.  No wonder the Pharisees were skiddish. These words of “hosanna” and “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” were cries of rebellion.  It also explains their pleas for Jesus to hush his disciples.  If the Romans got word of this “rebellion,” who knows what would happen.  2.) the palms      weren’t so much a symbol of peace or of Jesus’ coming kingdom as they were a nationalistic symbol (again it had a subversive element.) All of this made the Pharisees nervous.

It really puts Palm Sunday into a new light.  No wonder the Pharisees picked up the pace during Holy Week to get rid of Jesus.  During the coming week, we will continue to look at the Old Testament passages and how they apply to the events of the coming week.

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