Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 219)
Mark 11:1-11 (NJB)
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, close by the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go to the village facing you, and as you enter it you will at once find a tethered colt that no one has yet ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone says to you, “What are you doing?” say, “The Master needs it and will send it back here at once.”
They went off and found a colt tethered near a door in the open street. As they untied it, some men standing there said, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’ They gave the answer Jesus had told them, and the men let them go.
Then they took the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on its back, and he mounted it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others greenery which they had cut in the fields. And those who went in front and those who followed were all shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of David our father! Hosanna in the highest heavens!’
He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and when he had surveyed it all, as it was late by now, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
But joy suddenly turns to sorrow; exaltation to defeat, hosannas to “Crucify him!”
Within the very liturgy of Palm Sunday the tension is evident; traditionally, it is the only day with two Gospel readings—the enervating triumphal entry, and the tragic narrative of crucifixion. Palms turn to passion. It is the way God has designed it, for he “did not count equality with God something to be grasped.”
Psalm 31:9-16 (NJB)
Take pity on me, Yahweh,
for I am in trouble.
Vexation is gnawing away my eyes,
my soul deep within me
For my life is worn out with sorrow,
and my years with sighs.
My strength gives way under my misery,
and my bones are all wasted away.
The sheer number of my enemies
makes me contemptible,
loathsome to my neighbours,
and my friends shrink from me in horror.
When people see me in the street
they take to their heels.
I have no more place in their hearts than a corpse,
or something lost.
All I hear is slander
—terror wherever I turn—
as they plot together against me,
scheming to take my life.
But my trust is in you, Yahweh;
I say, ‘You are my God,’
every moment of my life is in your hands,
rescue me from the clutches of my foes who pursue me;
let your face shine on your servant,
save me in your faithful love.
Philippians 2:5-11 (NJB)
Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped.
But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.
And for this God raised him high, and gave him the name which is above all other names; so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.