Alongside Eric Huntsman’s excellent Holy Week posts we will be continuing with the Mormon Lectionary Project, thus bringing adaptations of Cranmer’s Anglican collects to our worships, as well as the designated lectionary readings.
Palm Sunday, Year A
The Collect: Heavenly Father: In your love towards the human race you sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his atonement; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
On Palm Sunday the Messiah is finally revealed. No more preaching in the Galilean backwaters. No more Messianic Secret. On Palm Sunday, Jesus publicly enacts the prophecy of Zechariah concerning the Messiah:
“Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
No doubt his disciples went before in order to gather crowds, perhaps with tales of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This is a Jesus supremely confident. The colt is not to be bought or borrowed but simply taken as befitting “the Lord.” He expects the crowds and makes no effort to subdue their fervour. He is Christ and his time has come.
His target is the temple, which, like the cursed fig tree was green with leaf but barren and without fruit. The temple is the holy house on the hill, white and resplendent as it looms over the city. This is the goal of every Jewish pilgrim but Jesus finds it wanting. Throughout Holy Week we must keep this temple and all that it stands for in view: it was not before Pilate that Jesus demonstrated but before the religious authorities of his own people. His animus towards the entrenched and the spiritually corrupt is what will get him killed, while offering us his love and community as a new temple along the way.
On Palm Sunday we welcome Jesus to our Jerusalem. Pointing to ourselves we say, “This is the gate of the Lord; he who is righteous may enter.” Jesus then goes to our temple, so beautiful from afar. What will he find there tonight? The priests no doubt believed their temple was holy, but it was defiled in ways their pride could not imagine.