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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Sunday, March 28

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me.”
—Matthew 21:1-2

Palm Sunday

Today is known as Palm Sunday in the Christian Church. It marks the beginning of the most holy week of the year, culminating in Easter Day, when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. On Palm Sunday, Christians wave palms as they enter churches, or walk with palms in procession around the outside. 

At my downtown church each Palm Sunday, the whole congregation
walks to City Hall to pray for peace in our community, the nation, and the world.

Scholar Marcus Borg preaches about two processions on Palm Sunday. “There were two processions that day,” he explains

One procession came from east of Jerusalem. In it, Jesus rode a donkey and was surrounded by peasants waving branches and shouting “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” This procession called for the coming of the Kingdom of God.

The other procession,came into Jerusalem from the west. In it, the Roman Pontius Pilate came, riding a war horse, surrounded by armored soldiers. This procession came in the name of the Emperor, proclaiming the rule of power and military might.” (Pilate was in town for Passover Week when Jews could become unruly, and Pilate’s job was to keep them subdued.)

Borg asks us, “Which procession are you in?” 

That question gives me great pause. Even though I walk in procession with my church on Palm Sunday, waving my palm, do I live my life serving the Kingdom of God, the kingdom that turns my world upside down? Am I willing to work for justice instead of just pray for it? Do I support peace in some demonstrable way? Do I work for more equitable education, fairer tax structures?

These are questions I need to ask myself during this Holy Week. Jesus’ procession ended in Jerusalem where, six days later, he was handed over to Pontius Pilate himself. Thus the two “Palm Sunday” processions collided, and I wonder: don’t they still?

Almighty God, give me courage to face my internal divisions. Help me to further your kingdom on earth and to turn away from kingdoms of this earth. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2005.