A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Israel. It is a beautiful country, full of history and fascinating places. It is also a country of tragedy as we see a land that is divided, suffering and in conflict.
I will never forget my first morning in Jerusalem. As we drove up the mount of Olives and arrived at this incredible view over the city. I can remember my reaction as I saw it, all I could say was “wow”. The person who was sat next to me said “I have been here a few times, and this view never fails to take my breath away”. As we got down from the coach there were the postcard salesmen, one chap with a camel and one, enterprising man, with a donkey offering rides, he announced his service by shouting “Jesus taxi, Jesus taxi”!
It’s the mount of Olives that is the starting point for the traditional pilgrim route for commemorating Palm Sunday. Like many churches, this Sunday we will be handing out Palm Crosses and remembering the events that led up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. In some traditions this is called Holy Week.
Palm Sunday is one of the Sundays I have always struggled to preach at. The story is the same, the essential elements Donkey, Palm Branches, Crowds, Pharisees, Jesus, Hosanna. One year I even preached about “stones crying out” – bit of a rocky sermon that one! (groan)
So, how will I try and wring something new out this story this year? That’s simple, I am not!
The story of the week that changed the world deserves to be re-visited in all its gory and glorious tragedy and triumph. So this Sunday we will be joining our “glad hosanna’s”, on Maundy Thursday we are holding a communion service and, on Good Friday we will be joining with other Christians in our town for a joint service to focus on the cross.
As we re-visit the “old old story” may God open our hearts afresh to the wonder of His love for us.
Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.