Sunday 14th April 2019

JUST RECENTLY I LISTENED TO THE WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE, THE FINALE IS SUCH A RESOUNDING TUNE, SOME OF YOU MAY REMEMBER THAT IT WAS ALSO THE SIGNATURE TUNE TO THE LONE RANGER COWBOY SERIES IN THE 50S. SING IT. THE MASKED MAN THUNDERING DOWN THE ROAD LEAVING A TRAIL OF DUST, TO RIGHT THE WRONGS AND BANISH THE BAD MEN.WHEN THEY FOUND OUT THAT JESUS WAS ON HIS WAY TO JERUSALEM, I WONDER IF THE JEWS EXPECTED A SIMILAR ENTRY FROM CHRIST.IF THEY DID THEY WERE SORELY DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE THAT WAS NOT JESUS’ STYLEHE WAS A QUIET MAN A HUMBLE MAN WHO KNEW EXACTLYWHY HE WAS ENTERING JERUSALEM.  THAT’S WHY HE CHOSEA DONKEY. THE USE OF A DONKEY IS HIGHLY SYMBOLIC AS IT REPRESENTED THE ARRIVAL OF SOMEONE IN PEACE AS OPPOSED TO ARRIVING ON A STEED OF WAR.EVEN SO HE WAS STILL GIVEN A RAPTUROUS WELCOME, PALM LEAVES AND CLOAKS BEING SPREAD IN FRONT OF HIM THE CROWD SHOUTING. IN MATTHEW 21 9-10 HE WRITES, THE CROWDS THAT WENTAHEAD OF HIM AND THOSE THAT FOLLOWED SHOUTED.“HOSANNA TO THE SON OF DAVID, BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST.”

JESUS’ ENTRY WAS THE SUPREME REDEMPTIVE SACRIFICE. CHRIST WAS ENTERING THE CITY TO FULFILL HIS PASSION AND RESURRECTION IN JERUSALEM.OF COURSE THIS WAS PROPHISIED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT LIKE MANY THINGS WERE. ZECHARIAH WRITES IN CHAPTER 9 VERSES 9-10 “REJOICE GREATLY, O DAUGHTER OF ZION! SHOUT DAUGHTER OF JEUSALEM. SEE YOUR KING COMES TO YOU RIGHTEOUS AND HAVING SALVATION, GENTLE AND RIDING ON A DONKEY, ONA COLT THE FOAL OF A DONKEY”ISAIAH TALKS ABOUT WHAT TODAY IS KNOW AS THE SUFFERING SERVANT AND DESCRIBES THE KIND OF PERSON HE WILL BE.HE ENDURED THE SUFFERING THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OURS, THE PAIN THAT WE SHOULD HAVE BORNE BECAUSE OF OUR SINS, HE WAS WOUNDED AND BEATEN BECAUSE OF THE EVIL WE DID. HE WAS TREATED HARSHLY, BUT ENDUREDIT HUMBLY, HE NEVER SAID A WORD.CHARLES JENNENS WHO WAS A CLOSE FRIEND OF HANDEL AND WROTE THE WORDS TO SOME OF HANDELS OPERA’S INCLUDING THE “THE MESSIAH”. RECOGNISED THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THESE PROPHESIES AND AS SUCH “THE MESSIAH” DOESN’T CONCENTRATE ON JESUS’ MINISTRY BUT MORE ON HIS INCARNATION, PASSION AND RESURRECTION. THE SUBJECT OF THE DRAMA IS GODS REDEMPTION OF MANKIND THROUGH THE “THE MESSIAH” 

YOU MAY BE INTERESTED TO KNOW THAT HANDEL GAVE ALL THE PROCEEDS FROM THE MESSIAH TO THE POOR AND NEEDY.I’D JUST LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE TRADITIONS SURROUNDING PALM SUNDAY, FOR INSTANCE, WHY DO WE WEAR RED?AS TODAY IS THE BEGINNING OF HOLY WEEK OF PASSIONTIDE, RED IS WORN TO SYMBALIZE THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. IT WILL BE WORN UNTIL MAUNDAY THURSDAY WHEN THE COLOUR CHANGES TO WHITE AND THEN RED AGAIN FOR GOOD FRIDAY. EASTER SUNDAY SEES THE COLOUR CHANGE AGAIN TO WHITE IN CELEBRATION OF THE RESURRECTION.THERE ARE MANY TRADITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH TODAY ALLROUND THE WORLD. IN OUR CHURCH WE WEAVE THE PALM CROSSES AND EVERYONE WHO GOES TO CHURCH ON PALM SUNDAY RECEIVES ONE AND THEN ON ASH WEDNESDAY NEXT YEAR THEY ARE BURNT. WE DECORATE OUR CHURCHES WITH PALM LEAVES.IN EASTERN ORTHADOX TRADITION PALM LEAVES ARE USED FOR COOKING THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.IN SPAIN WE HAVE THE COLOURFUL PROCESSIONS AND EACH PROVINCE HAS ITS OWN SPECIAL ONE. 

IN GREECE THE FIRST MEAL AFTER LENT IS “BAKALIAROS” A FISH DISH.IN PARTS OF THE UK, FIG PUDDING IS EATEN AND IN NORTHERN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND SPLIT PEA SOUP IS EATEN, THIS REPRESENTS THE WEARING OF SHOES WITH A PEA INSIDE WHICH WAS A FORM OF PENNANCE DURING HOLY WEEK.IN WALES PALM SUNDAY IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS FLOWERING SUNDAY TO COINCIDE WITH THE FLOWERING OF THE FIG TREES. THERE ARE MANY MORE.BUT WHAT DOES TODAY MEAN TO YOU?YOU MAY FEEL THAT THIS WEEK IS A WEEK WHEN YOU CAN SAY EXTRA PRAYERS TO THANK THE LORD FOR SENDING HIS ONLY SON TO EARTH. YOU MAY WANT TO MAKE A GESTURE TO SOMEONE OR TO A CHARITY AS A SYMBOL OF THE PEACE THAT JESUS BROUGHT YOU MAY WANT TO USE THIS WEEK TO FORGIVE SOMEONE WHO HAS WRONGED YOU IN SOME WAY OR YOU MAY JUST WANT TO REFLECT ON THE MAJESTY OF OUR LORD AND ALL THAT HE DOES FOR US.  THIS IS A TIME OF RENEWAL OF REBIRTH WHAT BETTER TIME TO FOCUS ON WHAT WE WANT FOR OUR FUTURE LIFE WITH GOD.IS IT A COINCIDENCE THAT JESUS ENTERED JERUSALEM ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE PASSOVER WHEN THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN THOUSANDS IN THE CITY, IS IT ANY WONDER THAT JESUS GOT THE RECEPTION THAT HE DID? I THINK NOT.

THIS WAS EXACTLY THE WELCOME THAT JESUS DESERVED, HE IS THE SON OF DAVID, OUR TRUE AND RIGHTFUL KING. HEIS OUR GENTLE SAVIOUR, AND AS IT SAYS IN ONE OF OUR HYMNS.ALL GLORY LAUD AND HONOUR, TO THEE REDEEMER KING, TO WHOM THE LIPS OF CHILDREN MADE SWEET HOSANNAS RING.SO AS WE BEGIN THIS HOLY WEEK LET US SING OUR HOSANNA’S AND PRAISE OUR REDEEMER KING FOR NOW AND FOR EVER.AMEN