Peter Thomas has provided some thoughts for Sunday
Thought for the Week – Palm Sunday To this day the walk from the Mount of Olives down into Jerusalem is overwhelming. For other journeys the route is ambiguous – the Via Dolorosa, the Cross to the Tomb – but the track from Bethany to cross the Kidron, with the city before you is certain. What was He thinking on Palm Sunday? There was no doubt fear. He would admit that fear a few days later “Father if it is possible takes this from me”. These are days of fear. Fear of an agency that is invisible, that brings devastation – and death. Let’s be honest – all rational people are now fearful, if not for themselves for people close to them. It is not what we were made for. For Jesus these were also days of Courage, Compassion and Confidence. Three aspects of life that we need this Holy Week – and beyond.
Courage. Jesus had faced opposition before. There had been threats on his life – but this was different. There was courage in the openness of his declaration. He had heard it from Peter shortly before the Transfiguration “You are the Christ”, he confirmed it to the woman at the well “I am the Messiah”, but now he chose an action that would declare it to all who knew their scriptures (and most did). By riding on a donkey into Jerusalem he was fulfilling what the prophet Zechariah had said about a King coming on a Donkey, which had been recognised as a vision of the Messiah. Courage too as he knew that his life was about to be ended in a brutal way. He had told his disciples, on the same day as Peter recognised who he was, that he was to suffer and die at Jerusalem. These are days when immense courage is being shown – particularly by members of the NHS, but also by those in Pharmacies, by police, by “dustbinmen”, by relatives of those ill and dying.
Compassion. AS you walk down the Mount of Olives you are encouraged to stop at a church – Dominus Flevit (Jesus Wept). It marks the point on that Palm Sunday where Like tells us that Jesus paused, looked at the city and wept for its people. Elsewhere he speaks of himself as a mother hen protecting her chicks. On the cross he declares “Father forgive them” . These are days of compassion. How can I help? What can I do? A prayer, an e-mail, a phone call. IT may also be gifts – to the Food Bank, to individuals. Love and compassion were the hallmarks of Jesus ministry.
Confidence. the writer to the Hebrews identified the hope, “for the hope that was set before him Jesus endured the cross”. In fear and pain he knew that God was with him – but, out of live for us, he experienced something we never need to experience – separation from his Father. The words of Psalm 22 “My God, My God why have you forsaken me” uttered at that moment when the sins of all mankind weighed him down and killed him. Lent has never been so Lentish – but there will be Resurrection. . I don’t believe that Covid 19 was God’s design, it is further evidence that a fallen world is out of kilter without its creator; but when Paul wrote “all things work together for those who love God” he was saying that whatever our circumstances God starts there to bless us. Let your journey this week reflect the Covid journey you are undertaken – and let Resurrection Sunday be a sign of hope. We have confidence that there will be new life – and confidence focussed for the moment on a post-Covid restoration but also on Glory.