Monthly Archives: April 2014

Palm Sunday: He is our King!

palm tree branchYearly Rhythm

13 April 2014
Palm Sunday, Year A.
Colour: Scarlet/Red/Purple

“On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as “Passion Sunday,” marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.”

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 Daily Rhythm

 Devotional Diary   7 – 13 April 2014

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship, using the Lectionary Readings

Download the PDF here.

 See “Weekly Rhythm” for commentary and questions about the readings.
Also “Praying the lectionary Readings”  for prayers based on the readings.

Readings for Sunday 13 April 2014: Palm Sunday

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (Palms liturgy)
Philippians 2:5-11  The way of Jesus Christ — emptying himself, taking the form of a servant, dying
Matthew 21: 1-11 (Palms liturgy)  Matthew’s narrative of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ’s kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: Humble, riding on a donkey.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: Competition/co-operation.

The Word: See readings above or use own devotional guide.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: loneliness

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

                Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: I have come not to be served, but to serve.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: All or nothing/knowing your calling or role.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: corruption

Personal Prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King.  Today: He gives his life as a ransom for many.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: Materialism/contentment.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: hurt and pain.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King.  Today: This is my body, given for you.  This is my blood, poured out for you.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: I did it my way/Grace and mercy.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: meaningless/directionless

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: …and he washed their feet.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: I can only rely on myself/body of Christ

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: anger/violence

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: I have come that you might have life…

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today:  My next purchase will bring happiness/to give is more blessed than to receive.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: your own life.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today:  Fear for the future/trusting in God.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: worship services

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

 Weekly Rhythm

Sunday 13 April 2014

Commentary and questions about the lectionary readings.

Download the PDF here.

 Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (Palms liturgy)

Salvation comes about because of the stone the builders rejected. This stone has become the capstone of the new gates of the temple in Jerusalem.  He is the Blessed One who comes in the name of the Lord.  Though the psalm itself does not identify who this ‘One’ is, the larger context of the Psalm makes it clear that he is the Promised Seed  of the house of David, the Messiah.  It is for this reason that this psalm is frequently alluded to in the New Testament.   (NIV Compact Bible Commentary, John H Sailhammer, Zondervan.)

Philippians 2:5-11The way of Jesus Christ — emptying himself, taking the form of a servant, dying.

How does this picture of Christ relate to him riding into Jerusalem as he does in the Gospel Passage?

Matthew 21: 1-11 (Palms liturgy) Matthew’s narrative of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Marcus Borg writes: “In this blog, I focus on what Christians call “Palm Sunday.” The story is familiar: as the week of Passover begins, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey and people cheer him, shouting “Hosanna – blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Less well-known is the historical fact that a Roman imperial procession was also entering Jerusalem for Passover from the other side of the city. It happened every year: the Roman governor of Judea, whose residence was in Caesarea on the coast, rode up to Jerusalem in order to be present in the city in case there were riots at Passover, the most politically volatile of the annual Jewish festivals. With him came soldiers and cavalry to reinforce the imperial garrison in Jerusalem.

It is clear what Pilate’s procession was about. By proclaiming the pomp and power of empire, its purpose was to intimidate. But what about Jesus’s procession, his entry into the city?

As Mark, the first gospel to be written, tells the story, Jesus planned it in advance. It was not a last-minute decision, as if he decided to ride a donkey because he was tired or wanted people to be able to see him better.

And – this is the crucial connection – riding a donkey into Jerusalem echoes a passage from the prophet Zechariah:

Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey (9.9).

That king, the passage continues, will be a king of peace:

“He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations” (9.10).

Thus for Passover that year, two very different processions entered Jerusalem. They proclaimed two very different and contrasting visions of how this world can and should be: the kingdom of God versus the kingdoms, the powers, of this world.
The former is about justice and the end of violence. The latter are about domination and exploitation.

On Friday, the rulers of this world kill Jesus. On Easter, God says “yes” to Jesus and “no” to the powers that executed him.

Thus Palm Sunday announces the central conflict of Holy Week. The conflict persists. In words from St. Paul, the rulers of this world crucified the Lord of glory. That conflict continues wherever injustice and violence abound. Holy Week is not about less than that.”

 

“The symbolism is captured in Zechariah 9:9 “The Coming of Zion’s King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. It was perceived that Jesus was declaring he was the King of Israel to the anger of the Sanhedrin.

According to the Gospels, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there laid down their cloaks in front of him, and also laid down small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalm 118: 25–26 –… Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord ….

The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war. A king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and rode upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would thus symbolize his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.Source

In this quote there are two sides of Christ: the assertive side: See I am your King (in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9) But humble and in peace: riding on a donkey.

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

A Palm Sunday Prayer

On this day of great rejoicing, Lord Jesus Christ, when we welcome You as our King and Saviour, we also walk in the shadow of Your cross. “Hosanna!” we cry. “Blessed are You who come in God’s name to save us. Hosanna!”

Strengthen our faith on this Palm Sunday so that when the time comes to carry the cross we might still call out to You with heartfelt praise. Give us the grace and the courage to follow You this Holy Week from death to resurrection, from darkness to the fullness of light.

We need You, Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Hosanna!

Amen