Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord

The title of this blog has always been one of my favorite quotes from the Christian Bible - "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." Then it goes on to say - "Hosanna in the highest." (A form of exhaultation.)

I really look forward to Holy Week every year. As many of you know, I am catholic and I really do try my best to observe the season of Lent. However, I fell a little short in some of the items I chose to give up. That's okay, I realize that my effort to turn away from my distractions were not left in vain.

You may be wondering why in the world am I writing about Palm Sunday. I will tell you why - I am married to a muslim. Yep. And his friends (our friends) and his family (my family) are all muslim. I also know that almost all of them follow my blog. They may not leave comments here, but they definitely send me comments by email.

I am writing this to explain the signifigance of Palm Sunday. Soo.. boys and girls, strap in - because I have a little lesson for you! :-)

Palm Sunday is a Christian Holiday that always takes place the Sunday before Easter. It commemorates the events that are mentioned in all four canonical Gospels in the Christian Bible. To be more specific:
Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.

It basically describes Jesus's entry into Jerusalem. What is important about this is it all happens just a few days before he was crucified. We call that - his Passion.

In many Christian churches, Palm Sunday is marked by the distribution of palm leaves (often tied into crosses) to the assembled worshipers.

 According to the Gospels, before entering Jerusalem, Jesus was staying at Bethany and Bethphage, and the Gospel of John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. While there, Jesus sent two disciples to the village over against them, in order to retrieve a donkey that had been tied up but never been ridden, and to say, if questioned, that the donkey was needed by the Lord but would be returned. Jesus then rode the donkey into Jerusalem, with the Synoptics adding that the disciples had first put their cloaks on it, so as to make it more comfortable. The Gospels go on to recount how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and how the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalm 118 - ...Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David. ... (Psalms 118:25-26).

Jesus arriving in Jerusalem the way he did is a fulfillment of prophesy for Christians.

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!

Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!

See, your king comes to you,

righteous and having salvation,

gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

I will take away the chariots from Ephraim

and the war-horses from Jerusalem,

and the battle bow will be broken.

He will proclaim peace to the nations.

His rule will extend from sea to sea

and from the River to the ends of the earth.

—Zechariah 9:9-10

On Palm Sunday, in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as many Anglican and Lutheran churches, palm fronds (or in colder climates some kind of substitutes) are blessed with an aspergilium outside the church building (or in cold climates in the narthex when Easter falls early in the year). A procession also takes place. It may include the normal liturgical procession of clergy and acolytes, the parish choir, the children of the parish or indeed the entire congregation as in the churches of the East. In many Protestant churches, children are given palms, and then walk in procession around the inside of the church while the adults remain seated.

The palms are saved in many churches to be burned the following year as the source of ashes used in Ash Wednesday services. The Roman Catholic Church considers the palms to be sacramentals. The vestments for the day are deep scarlet red, the color of blood, indicating the supreme redemptive sacrifice Christ was entering the city who welcomed him to fulfill- his Passion and Resurrection in Jerusalem.

So it begins the beautiful Holy Week - the last seven days of Lent.

I would like to think I could use that message - "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." I hope to live it, and I hope to meet others who are soo blessed, because they, too, believe!

PS- This post is a far cry from what I normally write - or have posted. But I thought it might work for my few egyptian readers!

1 comment:

Alan said...

This is a very interesting blog and so i like to visit your blog again and again. Keep it up.



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