Today’s readings: Mark 11.1-11; Mark 14.1-15.end
Sunday is Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week. In church today we begin the service with the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey as crowds cheered and waved palm leaves to celebrate his arrival. And later in the service we hear the story of Jesus’ Passion – the Last Supper, Gethsemane, betrayal, trial and torture, crucifixion and death.
And of course, normally, we would receive a palm cross to take home and keep in our houses until next year. This year we won’t meet in person on Palm Sunday so, like last year, I have blessed the cross and sent it out to you, a reminder of what is to come and a blessing on your home.
The palm cross hold so much symbolism for us. Made from palm leaves, it reminds us of the cheering crowds, but folded into its dried fronds is the story of what is to come, the cross, the suffering, the death. Most of us keep it somewhere visible in our homes for the year, a small but constant reminder of our faith. And then next year, we return them to church to be burned and ground into ash, to become a sign of our penitence as we approach the Passion of Christ once again.
This year, we will be at home for Palm Sunday so perhaps you might like to use this simple form of prayer while you hold the palm cross.
- Hold the cross in your right hand and then place your left thumb on the left ‘crosspiece’. Pray for the world, in these or similar words: Loving God, thank you that your peace reaches into every situation across our world. Be close to those places that need peace this day. Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer
- Place your left thumb on the right of the ‘crosspiece’ and pray for people in need in these or similar words: Loving God, thank you that your hope reaches into every situation. Be close to those who are ill or sad this day. Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer
- Place your left thumb on the base of the ‘crosspiece’: Pray for the community where you live in using these or similar words: Loving God, thank you that your joy reaches into our homes. Help us to know that you are with us every day. Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.
- Place your thumb on top of the ‘crosspiece’: Pray for those who lead in the church and teach us about Jesus: Loving God, thank you that your love is shared through your church. Give wisdom to those who help us to know the Good News of Jesus. Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer
- Place your thumb in centre of the ‘crosspiece’: Pray for yourself, in these or similar words: Loving God, thank you for Jesus and the love he showed for me. Help me to follow him more and more each day. Amen.