April 14 2019
Palm Sunday

Here we have choices between readings according to whether we follow Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday. I have chosen Palm Sunday from the Gospel of Luke because many of our people will meet also on Good Friday. The pathway I have chosen is highlighted.

Palm Sunday:  Is 50:4-9a, Ps 118:1-2, 19-29, Phil 2:5-11, Lk 19:28-40
Passion Sunday:  Is 50:4-9a, Ps 31:9-16, Phil 2:5-11, Lk 22:14 – 23:56 or Lk 23:1-49

It is the Lord God who helps me.

Our Hebrew Bible reading is the third Suffering Servant Song in Isaiah. This servant was an idealised poetic figure who demonstrated the faithful pathway of life to encourage the exiles in Babylon on their way of return to their homeland. This servant figure was later used by early Christian writers as one of many helpful images to describe what they saw in Jesus.

Our reading for Palm Sunday from Luke represents the culmination of Jesus’ long journey to Jerusalem and refers neither to palms nor Hosannas. This Jesus, in human form, comes to empty himself obedient to the point of death.

Some interesting images across the passages include:

Teacher – in Isaiah, a prophetic role bringing a sustaining word to the weary based on a cycle of learning and teaching on a daily basis coming with its own consequences. In Luke, a title for Jesus, from Pharisees who seem to feel superior, but recognise Jesus’ authority over/responsibility for his disciples.

Flint – in Isaiah, a face that has received spit, insult and other disgrace. In Luke 9:51, at the beginning of this meandering journey to Jerusalem Jesus hardened his face with determination and courage.

Stones – in the Psalm we have the rejected stone and the cornerstone. In Luke we find that if the disciples were silent the stones would shout out.

Garments – in Isaiah, an image of those things that will pass away through wear and moth. In Luke, as the cloaks placed on the colt and on the road, but with no branches from the Psalm’s festal procession.

Gates – in the Psalm the gates of righteousness and the gate of the Lord. In Luke Jesus from the Mount of Olives faces a steep descent and then ascent from the Kidron Valley to the gates of Jerusalem

I am amused by the picture of the disciples setting up the colt for Jesus and then setting Jesus on it.

It is the Lord God who helps me. Often people are helpful too.