A HOLY WEEK JOURNEY IN ADVERSITY TOWARDS RESILIENCE
HOLY WEEK READING-REFLECTION PLAN
5th April 2020, Palm Sunday: Matthew 21 Hosanna To A Different Tune
Palm Sunday sets the tone for us entering into the week as a journey, participating as if you are one of those first disciples. You join the procession as you see Jesus enter Jerusalem on a donkey. Crowds flocked to see Jesus riding what was actually a young colt that had never been ridden before. They waved palms and hailed him as king, crying ‘Hosanna’, ‘Save us, deliver us’, but His was not the only procession entering Jerusalem. The imperial army – its army and soldiers led by the governor, Pontius Pilate, was there at Passover in case there was trouble from the people who wanted deliverance from the Romans. The people hailing Jesus as King were challenging Roman rule and seeing Him as the one who could save them from the Romans.
Interestingly, there are leaders in the world today who argue that we are in a terrible war with this COVID-19 pestilence. We are crying ‘Hosanna’ now – How we long that Jesus would save us, deliver us from this deadly COVID-19 invisible army today!
Jesus also performed two acts of judgment: He cleansed the temple and He cursed the fig tree. Both acts were contrary to His usual manner of ministry. Both of these acts revealed the hypocrisy of Israel and her religious leaders – The temple was a den of thieves, and the nation (symbolized by the fig tree) was without (true) fruit. Inward corruption and outward fruitlessness were evidence of their hypocrisy – The Kingdom would be taken from Israel. The nation’s leaders who were guilty of spiritual blindness, hypocrisy, and deliberate disobedience, and who instead of repenting, chose to attack Jesus, would be ‘pulverized’.
In fact, the King who rides a donkey, not a war horse, turns our notions about what makes for our peace upside down. Jesus who knew the danger He was in offered Himself to you as a pattern for living in dangerous times, personally and/or politically. Jesus wasn’t showing you that He would wield power over life and death, but that in the face of death and destruction, it is possible for you/for us to choose life. In the occupied territory of our world, with its pain, brokenness, discrimination-hatred, we can live differently, live liberated.
This journey has to be taken for oneself and on a donkey, in peace with oneself and with others. Inner peace can bring about external peace, but not force it. There will be times when it feels successful, as it did for Jesus and His followers on Palm Sunday, and times when there is danger and humiliation. Both are to be encountered on the way of peace.
Q1. Is there something that you know needs to be faced and gone through? Can you make the choice to do this and journey through it with inner peace?
Q2. Is there a mark of humiliation that you can turn to a sign of victory?
Adapted Justine Allain Chapman
Write out your responses