Holy Week begins with a parade. As we mark Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we shout “Hosanna!” carrying palms and singing hymns as we make our way to the church. At Holy Communion we bring the joy of New Orleans style music in the procession. Joy is appropriate. This is the celebration that the Messiah, the awaited anointed one, has come to claim his throne. The palms are blessed (and often folded by children and adults into palm crosses), and we recount the joy that greeted Jesus from his motley band of followers as he made his way into the Holy City. Jesus’ procession approached Jerusalem from the East, from the Mt. of Olives. At around the same time another procession, that of Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor arrived from the West. Pilate brought with him a full dressed regiment of the Roman Army. They marched with precision up from the Roman Fortress at Caesarea. In comparison Jesus’ playful band probably looked like a disorganized protest.
After the celebration, the sermon, and the Eucharist, the tone of the service changes. The congregation is invited to sit after receiving communion as the Passion Gospel is read. Following ancient tradition, the congregation stands when the place where Jesus died, “Golgotha” (which means “the skull), is mentioned. They remain standing through the passages which conclude our reading which tell us how Jesus was buried. The trumpet that joyfully lead the congregation’s parade plays a plaintive stanza of “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” and the congregation departs in silence. We gather again on Maundy Thursday at the church to remember Jesus’ last supper with his disciples.
Some videos and photos of the parade. Email Mike if you want to share yours!