Today is Palm Sunday, the day we remember Jesus entry into Jerusalem, when palm branches were put on his path as he road a donkey into the town. Palm Sunday also marks the final week of lent and the beginning of Holy Week, the week that leads us to the cross and the empty grave. If you have been part of the lent course, or following the daily readings in the Pauses for Lent book, or if you have given up something significant for lent, you will know we are entering the final stretch of this journey.
Traditionally, on Palm Sunday church people would each take large palm branches and process through the town into church. People began to take the leaves from the palm branches and fold them into crosses so they could keep them with them through Holy week on the journey to the cross. Palm branches symbolise peace and victory, and so were a symbolic reminder through the week as the shadows deepen and the crucifixion draws nearer that we know how the story ends – Sunday will come! You would have received a Palm cross as you entered church this morning. And I invite you to keep this cross visible through this holy week – place it in your bible or next to your bed. And as you hear the story of Jesus journey to the cross, and as you journey with him, taking up your own cross and dying to self, let the Palm cross be a reminder of the peace and victory that Christ brings. Remember that no matter how deep the darkness, the promise of peace and victory remain, for Jesus rose from the dead and won life for all of us.
I also invite you to join us this Holy Week at our services. We have short services on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening at 18h00 and then a Tenebrae service at 18h00 on Thursday. These services prepare us for Friday, as we gather at 08h30 to remember Jesus death and then on Sunday we celebrate the resurrection with a 6am Sunrise Service on Salt Rock beach, (bring chairs/picnic blankets and picnic basket) and 08h30 service at UMC. Come and hear again the story of what God has done.
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