Family Liturgies

Palm Sunday–Waving Palms

palm trees

God of faith and God of Promise, in this season of Lent, remind us again of your sacred love. Remind us to trust in You, shower us with patience, and give us perseverance along this 40-day journey. Amen.

Scripture: Luke 19:28-40 (The Message)
After saying these things, Jesus headed straight up to Jerusalem. When he got near Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: “Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you’ll find a colt tethered, one that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says anything, asks, ‘What are you doing?’ say, ‘His Master needs him.’”

The two left and found it just as he said. As they were untying the colt, its owners said, “What are you doing untying the colt?”

They said, “His Master needs him.”

They brought the colt to Jesus. Then, throwing their coats on its back, they helped Jesus get on. As he rode, the people gave him a grand welcome, throwing their coats on the street.

Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

Blessed is he who comes,the king in God’s name!
All’s well in heaven!
Glory in the high places!

Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”
But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”

Memory Verses: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you; righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)

Have you waited for a popular singer to perform? I am definitely not a band groupie, but can remember the first concert I ever attended—New Kids on the Block (does that date me or what?). The suspense and excitement in the air was thick. Recently, I have felt that excitement again as my family and I stood on our Baltimore city streets for the Super Bowl parade. The five of us left our row home a few hours early, even though we live only a couple miles from the route, because we knew the traffic would be crazy and the crowds would be huge. I packed a few snacks, thankful that I did, because the parade was delayed due to the players being delayed by the immense traffic and crowds. The hour plus delay only made us more excited to see who was coming.

Every year Jews celebrate Passover, a time to remember God’s protection during the tenth plague on Egypt. It was after this plague that Pharaoh finally relented and freed the Israelites from slavery. This particular year, as the Jews came to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast, they heard Jesus, their King and Savior, was also coming, so they lined the streets, waving palm branches to welcome and praise him.

The Israelites were beyond exited. It’s not every day that you see someone as famous as Jesus. They heard all kinds of amazing things about him. This is a man who healed lepers, brought people back from the dead, and was sent to save and rescue them—their Savior. They were excited, just like the thousands that lined the streets of Baltimore. While we shouted and waved Ravens memorabilia, they waved palm branches and cried out “hosanna”.
The word “hosanna” means “save us” and the palm branches are a symbol of triumph. In ancient Rome when there was a parade or procession of people waving palm beaches it meant their army was victorious. The throwing of their cloaks on the ground, the thing that shields them from the elements, is a symbol of honor and good will.

We lined the streets, cheering, waving, and snapping photos. I can hardly imagine the welcome those Raven players felt. Can you imagine the excitement and the welcome Jesus must have felt to see the multitudes who came to trust and believe in him?

Questions to Spark Conversation:
~When have you felt welcomed?
~What made it a welcoming experience?
~How can you welcome Jesus into your daily life?

Spiritual Practice: Donating coats and clothes to a local charity

“Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then Jesus will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” –Matthew 25:44-45

In the Palm Sunday story, the Israelites, in preparing the way for Jesus in this procession, threw their cloaks on the ground. Perhaps, your house is like ours and you have a few (or many) coats or clothing scattered all around. Might sharing our clothing with those in need be a way to welcome Jesus? After you bag up the clothing, but before taking it to the agency of your choice, pray this blessing for those who will receive the clothes:

May the God who knit us together be with you.
May Christ, who welcomes the cold and lonely, warmly welcome you.
And may the Holy Spirit through the presence of these clothes remind you that you are loved.

~By Jennifer DiFransesco


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