Sunday, Palm Sunday, we begin the holiest week of the Christian year. On Palm Sunday we hear from Mark that Jesus entered into Jerusalem riding on a small, humble donkey and received the praise of all who lined the route, some threw down their garments and others laying palm fronds on the road while signing hymns of praise. They treated Jesus as the One who comes in the name of the Lord. It was a joyous time. Little did they know that this procession into Jerusalem would be the last time Jesus entered the city. This was the start of a procession that led to Calvary and the brutal crucifixion of Jesus, innocent and without sin, the Son of God and our brother.
After the solemn procession with palms, we lay our palms down and quickly move to the narrative of the Passion and Death of Jesus according to Mark. The “hosannas” cease and the calls for his death begin. In our church we read the entire Passion narrative from Mark 14: 1–15:47. It is a sacred time and we proclaim the Gospel with great solemnity as we all listen to what happened to this innocent man and God. It is a tragic story and one that did not need to end this way.
According to Elizabeth Johnson, a biblical scholar, this horrific death was the direct result of sin, nothing more or less.
But could it have ended differently? According to Johnson, yes. “To put it simply, Jesus, far from being a masochist, came not to die but to live and to help others live in the joy of divine love. To put it boldly, God the Creator and Lover of the human race did not need Jesus’ death as an act of atonement but wanted him to flourish in his ministry of the coming reign of God. Human sin thwarted this divine desire yet did not defeat it.”
And this is our salvation! The Cross became the sign and symbol of a God who would die for us, not because God needed it or wanted it, but because we put Him there and he did not retaliate! He said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Not even a moment of revenge in spite of the horrific and unnecessary shedding of blood. And, we know, that “with the dawn rejoicing” as Jesus overcame death with new life.
But before we celebrate what we know happened on Easter Sunday, we continue with Holy Week and celebrate Holy Thursday, the Lord’s Supper and the washing of the feet of the Apostles. And on Good Friday we come together again to hear the Passion of Jesus according to John (18:1—19:41). And in the quietness of Good Friday evening we prepare for the Resurrection and the Life!
Please join us for Holy Week. Palm Sunday: 8 and 10:30 AM, Holy Thursday: 7:00 PM, Good Friday: 7:00 PM, The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday at 8:00 PM, and Easter Sunday at 8:00 and 10:30 AM.
We are located at 4051 N. 25th Street, in the heart of the city.