Hello everyone! I led the Palm Sunday service and the children handed out the palm crosses. We began the service with the hymn ‘All glory, laud, and honour’. I told the story of children playing in the playground, when a herald came by saying the king was coming. The children thought they ought to tidy up their playground and remove the rubbish, which they set about doing. They then thought they should make it pretty for the expected king and spread out sweet smelling rushes and put an old cloak on the seat to make it like a throne. Then they waited all day and as the evening approached a travel worn man came past the playground and asked if he could rest in their beautiful playground and they happily welcomed him, explaining that they had been waiting for the king, but he had not come. The man had such kind eyes so they started to confide in him, telling him about the puppies in the barn and the eggs in the thrush’s nest. He asked for a cup of water, so they gave him the best cup. Soon he was setting off on his way, refreshed, and he touched each of their heads and they all felt better. He set off on his way. I asked the children if the king had come and they shook their head, but I reminded them of the kind eyes of the man and how they wanted to tell him everything and treat him like a king; I said that I am sure he was the king, but he was not the kind of king they were expecting! In just the same way when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, He showed the people that he was coming in peace, as the king of love rather than coming as a king riding on a horse and leading his people in rebellion against the hated Roman occupiers. He had revealed his father’s love in his teaching, healing and acceptance of those regarded as sinful, unclean and outcast by the religious hierarchy. We sang the joyful hymn of praise, ‘Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising; give me peace in my heart, keep me loving; give me love in my heart, keep me serving; sing hosanna! Sing hosanna to the King of kings.’
We read Psalm 118 in praise of a king, the early Christian hymn from Philippians, and Mark 11v1-11, which describes the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Philippians 2v5-11 sums up for me what Jesus did in coming to live as a human being like us and experienced the struggles, hurt and pain in his loving service of those around him, even as far as death on the cross, which we remember today.
‘Think the same way as Christ Jesus thought:
Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God.
Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us.
Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. Then God gave Christ the highest place and honoured his name above all others.
So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And to the glory of God the father everyone will openly agree,
‘Jesus Christ is Lord!’
This morning we had a reflection service at the foot of the cross. Our ministers and deacon led the service. We sang ‘Were you there when we crucified my Lord?’ and I remembered my late first husband, Stephen who sang that spiritual beautifully. It is a moving hymn remembering Jesus’ death on this day. Psalm 22 was read in 2 parts which enabled us to meditate on the psalm used by Jesus on the cross to show how abandoned he felt, when he shouted, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’ At last he cried, ‘It is finished!’ We reflected on the reading in silence, very moving. We then sang ‘When I survey the wondrous cross,’ where we reflect on Jesus’ death; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul my life my all. After more reflection and prayers the final reading described a rich disciple of Jesus Joseph of Arimathea, who came to ask for Jesus’ body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and put his body in the tomb which had been cut from solid rock and never been used. The women followed and saw where he was buried. Our reflection service concluded as we sang,
‘Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore his sacred name. Amen.