A child carries a large palm branch in a black and white photograph

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: The Politics of God’s Kingdom

Luke 19:28–40

After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

When he had come near Bethpage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

“Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

At the head of a brutal and humiliating week, Jesus’s power and authority, which had been widely recognized, are celebrated as he enters Jerusalem riding a donkey. Looking for a warrior king to save them from the Roman occupiers, the crowds in Jerusalem hail him, throwing down their cloaks as he passes by. “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” The political and religious powers, however, are not so enthusiastic; they set out to silence Jesus. Jesus’s public acceptance turns quickly to public betrayal. But he stays the course to the end.

As we witness the Passion narrative, scene by scene, we place ourselves into the struggle between the Word of God (justice and nonviolence) and the ways of the world (power and dominance). We are called to choose, once again, the politics of the Kingdom of God, in which love, service, and forgiveness reign.

—Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

Marcus Borg describes two contrasting triumphant processions in Jerusalem that day, as well as the persistent conflict wherever violence and injustice abound.

“The actions of Jesus, riding on a colt, are the actions of the king of peace. The king who knows that power can be used and abused. The king who uses the power afforded to him for the good of humanity…”

Pray with this set of brief daily prayers and images for Holy Week from Vanderbilt Divinity Library.

The Passion According to St. Matthew, BWV 244 (the full recording of the sacred oratorio for the beginning of Holy Week) performed at Trinity Church in March 2022.

Romare Howard Bearden’s Palm Sunday Procession collage.

Wilhelm Morgner’s Entry of Christ into Jerusalem is an expressionist interpretation of the gospel that leads us into Holy Week.


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Coming Up

Join the Trinity community in exploring the history and significance of stained glass, and the messages found within, in the next Discovery series beginning Sunday, April 24, at 10am. In particular, we’ll focus on the new east-facing stained-glass window being installed at Trinity Church this year.

Trinity’s Witness and Outreach Committee invites you to the next meeting of the Environmental Justice Ministry Group on Monday, April 11, at 6pm. The faith-based group examines, increases awareness, and acts around the most pressing problems of climate change and environmental justice.