Scripture: A reading from the Gospel of Mark (11:1-11)
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” ’ They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
‘…others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.’ It may feel strange not holding palms in our hands on this day, after all it is generally called ‘Palm Sunday’. The fact is, however, those who celebrated the triumphal entry grabbed what was available. Mark describes these as leafy branches from the fields. These were meant to be a sign of respect and celebration. A sign of hope for new life.
As the weather warms, many are beginning to turn to their yards and care for the plants. Part of this process can include pruning. The point of pruning is to let go of one part of the plant to create space for new life. To what extent can we view the Holy Week journey in this same vein – an opportunity to let go of the ways in which we continue to abandon, deny, and betray Jesus to create space for new life, resurrection, and hope? How might this perspective influence our understanding of what we celebrate in the triumphal entry today? What can you grab that is handy to help you proclaim Hosanna?
Prayer: It is right to praise you, almighty God, for the acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The Hebrews acclaimed Jesus as Messiah and King, with branches in their hands, crying, Hosanna in the highest. May we also go forth to meet Christ and follow him the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen (BAS p. 298)