Signs of spring: a close-up of several bright purple crocuses in sunlight
Photo: Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

Hosanna in the Highest!

Palm/Passion Sunday. Three of the Gospel writers describe people placing palm branches on the ground as Jesus rode into the royal city of Jerusalem.

The cheering crowds lining the road celebrated Jesus’ humble entry on a colt with shouts of rejoicing, waving palm fronds, and hailing him as king. The long-awaited Messiah had come, the promised one who would establish the kingdom of God. But it was not the straightforward triumph they had hoped for; and there was no pomp or display of power typical of kings. 

Most could not have imagined the manner in which Jesus-the-King would ascend to his throne. But Jesus knew that God’s plan would come to fruition by way of his own freely chosen suffering and sacrifice, by giving himself up to death. It is an astonishing insight into the nature of God that the Kingdom be built on the selfless love and suffering of God’s son.  

We see in Psalm 31 the prayer of an innocent sufferer and we see in the Passion Narrative that Jesus is a victim of trumped-up charges and corrupt officials. Both the psalmist and Jesus stand in solidarity with innocent victims, then and now. Here, at the head of Holy Week, as we prepare for the Sacred Triduum and celebration of Easter, let us pray with the psalmist: “But I trust in you, Lord…my times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15–16).

Praying with Scripture:

  • Imagine yourself in the crowd as Jesus entered Jerusalem. As you wave palm fronds, what are your expectations from the Messiah as he rides into the city?
  • How are your ideas about victory and triumph shaped by Jesus’ life?
  • How do you understand the suffering of Jesus as being “for us” and “for our sins”?

Almighty God, on this day Jesus entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way. May the branches we wave today be for us signs of his victory, and may we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer, Church Publishing, 1979, p. 271, adapted.)

Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones
Associate Director, Faith Formation and Education

Holy Week at Home Gathering

Sunday at 10am

Join parishioners of all ages for a Palm Sunday celebration and how-to demonstrations of ways to observe Holy Week at home. Bring something green or a “cloak” to wave! If you don’t have a real palm frond, here’s a paper palm you can print, color, and cut out. 

Register to join.

Children’s Time and Discovery will be on hiatus on Palm Sunday, March 28, and Easter Sunday, April 4.

Spiritual Resources

  • Pádraig Ó Tuama writes that in this week’s Gospel authority is a tool, not a goal. It is a sign pointing towards something not itself. For Jesus, it is a pathway towards liberation.
  • The Feast of the Annunciation is on March 25. Andrew McGowan explains how these dates were set in the liturgical calendar, in case you were wondering why this occurs in Lent instead of Advent. 
  • Holy Week in a Box meditations for families with children. Join us this Sunday at 10am in our Palm Sunday/Holy Week at Home gathering. We will have a breakout room for families to create and compose their own DIY Holy Week boxes.
  • Holy Week coloring pages by Sybil Macbeth. You can “incorporate them with your intercessory prayers or with your current Lenten discipline. Another idea is to place your griefs, sorrows, questions, queries, beliefs, unbeliefs, petitions, wails, wows, gratitudes, grudges, pains, pleasures, satisfactions, sufferings — anything that comes up for you — on the templates. Use words, doodles, strokes of the pen, dots, dashes, color…” 
  • Trinity’s children and families are practicing lament with the Psalms this Lent. Children need to know that God was present with Jesus in his suffering, and that God is present to them, in the “valleys” and the “mountaintops” — in life, joy, pain, death, and all transitions in between. Six Psalms and images included in the Lent at Home packet could be used to focus each day’s Holy Week meditations. If you would like a digital copy of the materials, please email Kathryn Carroll.
  • Family Worship: Home Edition