Sunday, April 05, 2009

Palm Sunday!

The most solemn week of the Christian year, Holy week is the week leading up to Easter, and is the week during which Christians particularly remember the last week of Jesus's life. Holy week begins on Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday commemorates Christ's triumphant arrival in Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowd.
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem,
They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Blessed is the King of Israel!"John 12:12-13
Later in that week many of the people in that cheering crowd would be among those shouting that Jesus should be executed.

Christian clergy will often use the Palm Sunday story to help people think about the strength of their own commitment to their faith. They may ask believers to think about times that they have been unfaithful to Christ, or been hypocritical in proclaiming their support.

Church services
In many churches, during Palm Sunday services, large palm branches are carried in processions.
In Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, members of the congregation hold small crosses made of palm leaf, both to remember the palm leaves which the people of Jerusalem waved when Jesus arrived, and to remember the cross on which he died.
Some Christians display the crosses from that service in their homes during the year as a symbol of their faith. The crosses are burned at the start of Lent the next year to provide the ash for Ash Wednesday.

Hymns for Palm Sunday generally include Ride on, Ride on in Majesty and All glory, laud and honour.
Songs may include Make Way, Hosanna, and (for children) We have a King who Rides a Donkey.