Follow...with shouts of praise A Lenten Devotion for Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017

This week is Holy Week, the final week of Lent and the end of this devotion. I hope it has been uplifting to you. This week, instead of our routine, we will stick closely to the scriptural story of this week. We will follow Mark’s gospel as it gives a very stark rendering of Jesus’ last week of earthly ministry. I owe this week’s readings to The Last Week by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, which details the process and meaning of Holy Week, utilizing Mark’s gospel. It is a stellar read.

Two processions entered Jerusalem on a spring day in the year 30. It was the beginning of the week of Passover, the most sacred week of the Jewish year. In the centuries since, Christians have celebrated this day as Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week. With its climax of Good Friday and Easter, it is the most sacred week of the Christian year.

One was a peasant procession, the other an imperial procession. From the east, Jesus rode a donkey down the Mount of Olives, cheered by his followers. Jesus was from the peasant village of Nazareth, his message was about the kingdom of God, and his followers came from the peasant class. They had journeyed to Jerusalem from Galilee, about a hundred miles to the north, a journey that is the central section and the central dynamic of Marks’ gospel. Mark’s story of Jesus and the kingdom of God has been aiming for Jerusalem, pointing toward Jerusalem. It has now arrived.

On the opposite side of the city, from the west, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Idumea, Judea and Samaria, entered Jerusalem at the head of a column of imperial cavalry and soldiers. Jesus’s procession proclaimed the kingdom of God; Pilates’ proclaimed the power of empire. The two processions embody the central conflict of the week that led to Jesus’s crucifixion.

From The Last Week, by Marcus Borg and John Dominic

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Created with images by raelenet - "Palm Leaf"

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