The final six days of Lent are also known as Holy Week, Beginning with the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and then following Jesus's path to his crucifixion on Friday, Lent comes to a crushingly sad conclusion.
The opening act of Holy week is commonly known as Palm Sunday.
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord-- the King of Israel!"
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: "Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!"
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.
But, as the last lines of the reading from John indicate, the festive mood and celebration of the triumphal entry turned sour very quickly. This rather quick change of mood was reflected even in the early Church. For centuries the Roman Catholic Church recognized the two week period before Easter as "Passiontide." The word "passion" is from the Latin patior which means "to suffer, bear, or endure." It is the root word for the English words "patience" and "patient."
By the 20th Century, both Catholics and many Protestants combined Passiontide and Palm Sunday into Palm/Passion Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Thus, many worship services on the sixth Sunday of Lent begin with the joy and pomp of waving palms and joyful music on the themes of "Alleluia" and "Hosanna," but close on a more somber note, both musically and spiritually.
The practice of reenacting the Last Supper is traditionally observed on Maundy Thursday. The end of many services on that day focus on the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. On the next day, Good Friday, attention turns to the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. From that point until sunrise on Easter Sunday, Lent comes to its conclusion in prayer and silent contemplation of the magnificent sacrifice of Christ for us.
For now we, like Jesus's family and friends, especially the eleven surviving disciples, must wait, in faith that the promises will come true.
We must wait.... And remember....
May God bless your waiting and remembering....
Elation to Weariness and Back Again
Whipped from the weariness of life
and hoping against hope
the excitement of the throng, the hopeful celebration
how to speak
and pray for peace
and yet wondering
if I am the one who
is the betrayer
from the parade
Photos by Aaron Burden, Raquel Pedrotti, Imre Tomosvari, vippin.com, and Debbie Hudson.
Poetry by Russell E. Willis