Sunday 25th March 2018
Palm Sunday

(Psalms) Mark 11:1-11; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
(Word) Isaiah 50:4-9a; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 14:1-15:47; Psalm 31:9-16

(Alternatives: Mark 15:1-39; John 12:12-16)

The various liturgies and readings introduce us to the events of Palm Sunday from a number of perspectives. One reality that might be noted is how many participants in this story would be ďgoing about their daily business.Ē If exploring events with younger members of a congregation, this could be done interactively by identifying how many professions appear in the narrative either explicitly or by implication. This might include festival organisers; donkey keepers; priests, scribes and political leaders; perfume makers; caterers; water carrier; servants; soldiers, watch-keepers, gardeners etc. etc. The list will obviously depend upon which readings are being used.

The overarching message is a common one; people failed to recognise that in Jesus, God had come to the very centre of this plethora of activity as a Saviour, King and Redeember. People had become so consumed by their tasks and routine that they simply did not recognise how Godís salvation was being worked out through those very activities. This reality can be explored in different ways, depending on which of the accompanying readings are used. Isaiah speaks of a teacher able to explain Godís message Ė there is application here that we sometimes need prophetic wisdom to appreciate and explain how God is at work. Psalm 118 is the source of many of the straplines and rituals that were regular features of the Passover festival Ė people were readily repeating them without recognising their full significance. Psalm 31 is a stark contrast Ė seeing beyond the immediate reality to how the same crowd would, in a few daysí time, turn against Jesus and call for his crucifixion. The reading from John explains that not even the disciples properly understood at the time, the full significance of the events they were caught up in.

These perspectives offer a number of applications into the world of work, particularly as Christians engage in daily employment aware that it is Holy Week. The readings from the Old Testament are a reminder that Godís purpose and promise are longstanding and embedded in history Ė Godís purposes prevail beyond and above the systems and structures of our contemporary age. God was at work in the midst of these routine and ordinary events, but it took wisdom and insight to recognise this Ė where is God at work in our daily routines? How might we seek and recognise signs of this? Even where we cannot detect Godís hand at work, we can believe in faith that Godís purposes prevail. Sometimes work will be difficult and costly Ė Jesusí entry into Jerusalem was a vital moment in Godís salvation story, but one of personal sacrifice and submission for the Christ.

God, who in Christ,
Humbly came to the centre of a nationís life and celebration;
Help us to be those who welcome you,
Into the rituals, routines and responsibilities
Of our daily work and duty.
Help us to see and believe,
Whatever forces and motives appear to prescribe the agendas we follow,
That your purposes remain,
And can often be fulfilled
In ways that few could perceive or imagine.
So may we walk the road before us
Conscious that in every aspect of our lives
You are present