After preparing our hearts during the past five weeks with our Wednesday Lent observance of a sacrificial meal – we are always ready for the arrival of Holy Week – which is the pinnacle of our Christian faith.
Today is Palm Sunday – the day to remember the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. After attending church this morning we came home and had brunch together before beginning our traditional Palm Sunday family devotion. Yesterday I set the dining room table with six candles representing each day of this week ending with Good Friday. I put the candles in the shape of a cross with a ribbon laying under them (I have always wanted to have a flat wooden cross I could lay on the table with holes for candles in it, but have never seen such a thing anywhere. Someday I will have to have one made for our family…but for now this works!)
We will extinguish one candle each day this week until we are in “darkness” on Friday before noon when we read the Crucifixion account in the scriptures and observe Good Friday. (the opposite of lighting the candles during Advent)
Our time together as a family on Palm Sunday includes the reading of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
- “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
This year we spent some time sharing our thoughts on how the same people could have been so enthusiastic and convicted in calling Jesus the King on a Sunday only to turn around five days later and shout “Crucify him!”. We all agreed that it wasn’t much different at times than any one of us as we praise the Lord on Sunday morning in church only to ignore, disobey or deny him just days later. We also talked about Jesus coming on a donkey as a humble, servant leader being a sharp contrast to most modern day leaders in both the secular arena and sadly in some church leadership. We decided we needed to all be more diligent to be like Jesus in this area of service and humilty.
We always have a little reenactment of the triumphal entry as well (children learn so much better through hands on and dramatic play activities). The youngest child always get to ride our little brown rocking horse while the older sisters shout “Hosanna” & wave branches from our yard. It is definitely memorable.
We end with the extinguishing of the first candle and the countdown to Good Friday has begun!
May you and your family take the time to prepare your hearts for the passion of Christ this Holy Week.