Good afternoon my brothers and sisters. Thank you for your prayers today for Sister Cheryl Clinton and others who are sick. This Sunday is Palm Sunday and if you would like a palm, you may receive them during worship service at Gwynn Park Middle School at 10:00 a.m. or after worship between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon.
Please see today’s message below:
When I woke up this morning, palms were on my mind. I suppose it is because this Sunday, April 10, 2022 is Palm Sunday. There are certain Sundays on the liturgical calendar that have more meaning than others for some people. One of those Sundays is Palm Sunday. In most churches, palms will be incorporated into the worship service. The palms will be blessed and distributed and most folk will come to church expecting their palm. Most times the recipients believe God will bless them because of their obedience and commitment to Him. Our strength and power will come from Jesus and not the palms.
Why do we give attention to this special day in the church is the question we should ask ourselves? Too often we commemorate special days, but may not have a clue as to why we do so. Often, we simply do it because it has been common practice or a tradition within our denomination.
Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. We often hear the story told about Jesus’ riding into the city on a donkey and his followers spreading palm branches at his feet and called him “Hosanna” or “savior.” What is key and of utmost importance regarding this scripture is that the palm branches were symbols of victory and triumph at the time. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment. The crowd shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” May we be reminded that there is nothing mystical or magical about the palms, but they do remind us that we might find victory in calling and relying on Jesus to bring us out or overcome some obstacles or challenges in our lives. Let the palm remind us of the power or our God who we proclaim can do anything. They praised Him, “Hosanna in the Highest.” In the Hebrew language, “Hosanna” is a prayer meaning “save us.” May we all today start shouting Hosanna, for we are in a time when all of us need salvation or need to be saved. With that being said, there comes with this salvation the assurance that we are victorious, and we are set free.
We may find this event in Jesus’ life in Mark 11: 1-11, Luke 19: 28-40, Matthew 21: 1-11, and John 12: 1-17.
As we wave our palms on this Sunday, may we be reminded that it is the last Sunday of the Lenten season and the beginning of Holy Week. Holy Week as we know it is the last week before Easter that commemorates the last days of Jesus before He was crucified.
Some of us make our palms into crosses, place them in our cars, bedrooms, door knobs, etc. with hope of them bringing us good fortune. May we be reminded that the greatest victory and triumph we will experience is life over death.
What does all of this mean to Christians today? We too can claim victory and triumph today that is found in Jesus Christ. The victory we have is that we can overcome sin, guilt, shame and death. Through the blood of Christ, we can overcome the tactics of the adversary. We can declare today that death has lost its sting and Jesus rose again with the victor’s crown on His head.
The palms will be blessed as I have already stated, and because they are blessed, worshippers are instructed to only get rid of the palms by burning them. A common practice in many churches is for the palms to be returned to the church later to be burned and the ashes will be used for the Ash Wednesday the following year.
We also recall from scripture that the same crowd that shouted Hosanna on Palm Sunday were crying” crucify Him” later that week (Matthew 27:22-23).
In the book of Revelation, there is a description of an eternal celebration of the risen Lord: “There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). Those who will be shouting, “Salvation belongs to God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb` (Verse 10), and who can measure the sum of their joy?
Let’s attempt to dos something different with our palms this year. Why not give your palm or receive a palm for someone who may not be in a position to receive one? Be sure to share the significance of it all.
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert E. Slade, Pastor