Palm Sunday Storytelling     

April 14, 2019

Rev. Nancy Talbot

The Story Of The Entry Into Jerusalem 

It was the beginning of the week of Passover, the most sacred week of the Jewish year – the time of year the faithful remembered the way their ancestors had been delivered from slavery in Egypt through the waters of the red sea across the desert and into the place, they believed to be the promised land.  In one part of the city of Jerusalem crowds were gathering to see if they could catch a glimpse of the governor Pontius Pilate whose custom it was to ride into the city each time he came with a whole Calvary of soldiers – hundreds of them marching row by row their heavy armour clanking through the streets some on foot others riding on majestic horses – a great show of power and might – an affirmation for all those who lived by the sword and valued the riches and prestige that this kind of power could bring – all who aspired for such riches.

Meanwhile in another part of the city another drama was unfolding – equally as impressive but much more modest

For so long people living under the harsh and oppressive rule of the Romans had been waiting for a Messiah – a new kind of ruler – who would lead them in the way of peace – who would bring justice to the oppressed – and now everyone was talking about the rabbi named Jesus – they say he healed people with both his words and his touch – they say just to be in his presence was to be in the presence of greatness – he spoke of unconditional love – crossed barriers of race and creed to care for the poorest of the poor – the widows and the lepers – he defied both the religious and political authorities –renouncing any laws that caused division and harm  —- they said he was the Messiah and those who followed him – their lives were changed forever

– and now they say he was coming into the city – making a very mockery of Pilate and all his pomp and ceremony – riding on a lowly donkey as if to say “I know where true power comes from”

People were throwing their cloaks on the road as a sign of respect grabbing whatever they could – branches off of trees to pave the way for his coming – to pay him homage – to shout at the top of their lungs with defiance – we will not bow down to you and your ways Pilate – blessed is the one who comes in the name of our ancestor David – blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God – Hosanna — Hosanna in the highest.

And so now it is we who have a choice to make about which of these two paths we are going to follow in our lives — who and what we going to commit our lives to follow – the way of power that leads to corruption and greed destruction and diminishment – or the way of self-giving and love that leads to abundance and peace

Come – Let us make a commitment to the way of peace (followed by palm parade)

The Story Of The Garden

After the parade was over – most of the people went home – Jerusalem could be a very dangerous place – punishment for treason was harsh — it wasn’t long before word got out that the authorities were looking for Jesus.  The crowds had been full of conviction about their new king but let’s face it – no one wanted to risk their life to follow someone who was about to risk theirs.

On Thursday of that week Jesus gathered with his friends in an upper room to share the Passover meal – they say he got down on his knees and washed their feet like a servant – he was just so very humble – after the meal had ended he headed out to the Mount of Olives to pray – he was fearful that night –Ii guess he knew his days were numbered.

He asked his followers to stay awake with him to watch and pray so they would not come into the time of trial – and then he went to pray – but his disciples fell asleep – maybe they were exhausted from all the highs and the lows of the week – I don’t know – what I do know is that when they woke up – it was too late – they had come to arrest him and take him away.


All: as we leave this place

Leader: will we watch and pray?

All: in setting apart time and space

Leader: will we watch and pray?

All: on the threshold of god’s possibilities

Leader: will we watch and pray?

Leader: as we tend to god’s aching and wondrous world

Leader: will we watch and pray?