Sunday, 24 March 2013

Palm Sunday

Carolyn has written today's post.   Thanks Carolyn.

In the Christian Calendar today is Palm Sunday. This day marks the beginning for most of us of the observance of Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter.   PalmSunday, Holy Week and Easter are observed and celebrated in many different ways around the world, and you can read about these in lots of places, those I have linked are Wiki articles.

Palm Sunday itself marks the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem for his last Passover festival.  All four gospels relate how Jesus approached the city riding a borrowed donkey and was acclaimed by the crowds as he entered the city with shouts of Hosanna and the waving of palm branches.  This was the event that set in motion all the other events of that week, ending with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.   While riding a donkey into a city may seem a rather unobtrusive way to travel, it was also a symbol of a king coming in peace as opposed to riding a horse in war; palm branches were symbolic of triumph and with the acclamation of the crowds there was a direct link to the Old Testament, Jewish prophecy  
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! 
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! 
See, your king comes to you, 
righteous and victorious, 
lowly and riding on a donkey, 
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

I grew up in a Methodist church and recall how Palm crosses were distributed every year on Palm Sunday. The adults would use them as bookmarks or display them somewhere at home, or leave them to crumple in handbags.   As children we knew how to use them though, they were swords for us to fight with in the grounds after Sunday School! 

My current church doesn’t mark the church calendar in the same way as the one I grew up in but I often find a benefit in recalling the seasons and during Lent (the weeks leading up to Easter) I have been posting a weekly reflection on my blog.   This year I have taken a verse from the Bible each week and simply quoted it along with photographs which seem to fit.   This becomes a meditative process as I sit and read the words and search out images.

I often don’t go for a literal image of whatever is in the words, although I may, but of something that may enhance the meaning, give a new perspective, or express my own emotional and spiritual response to the words.  I only use my own photographs which can be a challenge, but my reasoning is that I want the reflection to be my response and that is best given with those images that have spoken to me enough to be photographed. 

Of course it helps that I love photography!  I find being still difficult and meditation does not come naturally to me, but an active meditation with images or art is much closer to my natural way of being. This is my reflection on the words quoted above.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!

See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious,

lowly and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey

As you may see I started with a celebration image and then in the next two photos contrasted high majesty with low and humble before finishing with a further emphasis on the lowly, but with beauty also and the hope of God transforming decay into something beautiful as the horror of the cross was transformed into the glory of the resurrection.

The challenge with this is for you to take a Bible verse if you are so minded, or a verse from a poem or a quote or something that is meaningful to you and as you think about it search out images that fit in with the meaning it has for you. These could be, as mine are, images from your own photographs, or images of your own artwork, or images found online.

On my own blog today there will be a different reflection for Palm Sunday, but done in a similar way.

Thanks Carolyn.  If you take up Carolyn's challenge today, please add your link below.