This Sunday is Palm Sunday. This day in the Christian calendar marks the entrance of Jesus, riding on a donkey, into the city of Jerusalem. The people waved tree branches, shouting, “Hosanna!” while others cut branches from nearby trees and spread them on the road. Often referred to as the Triumphal Entry, Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem is seen in opposition to the entrance of Pontius Pilate, with his own entourage, reminding the people that Rome is still in charge. The Triumphal Entry, filled with high expectation and challenge, thus begins Holy Week, also called Passion Week. We have entered the final week of Lent, a Lenten season spent in the Wilderness. What started out as a spiritual Wilderness has now become an emotional and physical Wilderness for many of us as we remain “at home” and try to discern where in the midst of COVID-19 God is, and what God is doing right here, right now.
Note that the Scripture verses we will read on Sunday from the Gospel According to Matthew do not describe the branches as being specifically palm branches; only the Gospel According to John (12:13) specifies the branches as being palm branches. But the Triumphal Entry is associated with Palm Sunday, and palm branches have been associated with the concepts of victory, triumph, peace, and eternal life in the Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean since well before the birth of Jesus. What connections do you make between the triumphant/victorious views of Palm Sunday and what is happening in your own life, and in the life of our church? Our state? Our nation? Our world?
This Sunday, we will “wave our palm branches” together just as if we were meeting in person in our church meeting house. I have included a palm branch coloring page for you to print out, color, and cut out to wave on Sunday to commemorate Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. This activity may be especially enjoyable for children to participate in!
See you on Palm Sunday at our Worship Gathering in the Midst!
~ Rev. Stacy
Communion in the Midst
On Sunday, April 5, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion. As we are continuing to worship “in the Midst,” I invite each of you to prepare some bread of any kind, and a glass/cup of grape juice or water (or even wine, if you so desire), and bring these items with you when you sit down at your computer/phone/tablet. As part of the Sacrament, I will pray for God’s blessing upon the bread and the beverage, and then invite us to partake of the elements together. You may partake in any way that is comfortable for you (by intinction [dipping the piece of bread into your cup, then eating the bread]; or by eating the bread and then drinking your beverage). For those of you who gather as families, you may wish to serve one another the bread and offer the cup, as we usually do when we are gathered in person.