Here we are at the beginning of another Holy Week. There is a huge shift in our worship service today as we begin with the triumphant entry into Jerusalem by Jesus, and then we end with the all too familiar story of his betrayal. The crowds who shouted “Hosanna!” change their minds so quickly and begin to shout “Crucify him!” with alarming ferocity. The meaning of this inconsistency—this shift from welcoming their king to demanding his death—was summed up in a sermon for Palm Sunday by the Rev’d Dr. Robert Crouse when he wrote, “The kingship of Jesus, true kingship, true liberty, true dignity, do not consist in worldly pomp and power, in worldly glory and ambition, nor in worldly grace and beauty.” Christ’s kingship does not depend on earthly power as does the power of someone like the Roman Emperor or Pilate. In fact, Jesus says that putting your trust in the powers of the world is in vain. The crowd is influenced by earthly power, and so that’s the side that they take in the end. In contrast, when questioned by Pilate, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36)
Fr Crouse concludes his sermon by writing of Jesus that, “The signs of his glory are the signs of body broken and blood outpoured. ‘He reigns and triumphs from the tree.’ That is the glory we celebrate on Palm Sunday, and that is the glory we show forth day by day in the Church’s liturgy as we break the bread and drink the cup. And that is the glory which must adorn our lives.” So enter once again into this week which is central to our faith. Set aside time to pray and watch. Fully enter into the mystery of Christ’s passion and suffering, and then you can truly rejoice on Easter with his resurrection.