Palm Sunday

Which Procession Will You Be In?

By The Rev. Elizabeth Rechter

Bob Gunn and I had a conversation this week about the Palm Sunday procession from the upper gardens into the church.  I was asking him to help me find a good song to sing for this procession.  What kind of song is it?

We are beginning a procession into Holy Week that our story tells us began with great celebration. Journeying to Jerusalem for Passover was already an ancient tradition by Jesus’ time.  This year Jesus’ followers were OVERJOYED to be coming into the holy city with the one they believed was the Messiah, a living and moving fulfillment of the Kingdom come!  Jesus , the one who had healed the blind man, lifted up the outcast Samaritan woman and raised his friend Lazarus from the dead!  Finally, God’s reign on earth was being realized.  “What is the song for that?” I asked Bob.

It turns out that in addition to Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem from Galilee (from the East) with all the faithful, there was another procession happening at the same time on the other side of Jerusalem coming in from the West, from the emperor’s palace in modern day Tel Aviv. The emperor planned his parade to counter all the religious hype with his own show of political and military might, complete with horses and chariots full of soldiers.  He called himself Son of God as Rome’s emperor. His procession was to ensure order and show force.  There is a song for that too.

Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan tell us in their book, The Last Week, there is an image created that is fitting for what is to come, a collision of processions. In the midst of the crowded holy city, they are headed for a cosmic intersection we call the cross, where evil and good face off, the kingdom of the world and the Kingdom of God come face to face. The power of the empire and the power of God meet in the person of Jesus.

Borg and Crossan present us with a haunting question for this day;

Which procession are we in?

And what are we holding in our hands?

Palms and palm crosses or swords and shields?

And what will we be our song?


The procession starts Sunday, 8am and 10:30am.

Hope to find you there.

Rev. Elizabeth+