Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna! – the crowd at Jesus’ triumphal entry as recorded by Mark
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross… – Philippians 2
How I am strong
is to know what makes me weak
how I am found
is to know just whom I seek
the gift of a blessing
the burden of a sin
turn to him
I want to be ready, ready to put on
my long white robe
A million years ago I preached a sermon on this day, Palm Sunday. I titled it “It’s Sunday, but Friday is comin’”, riffing on Tony Campolo’s speech of the same title with the days flipped around. The turn of events during Holy Week have always fascinated me. How can a crowd that is cheering Jesus on Sunday be calling for his crucifixion by Friday?
It makes this song, by Ben Harper, even more poignant to me. Here’s a song that cries out “I want to be ready” – ready for whatever is ahead, whatever I have to face. Here’s what Ben says:
This song came to me in one breath. The sentences like “I want to be ready to put on my long white robe”, come from the old Delta Blues and from the Gospel. It talks about the redemption to win a better life after the death. I don’t say that I’m ready but I want to be. I know that life is a little part of THE Life. The shade of meaning is here. It’s fragile, but it’s here. All is a question of wisdom faced with the doubt.”
from hand to hand
for the sin
of every woman and man
and all upon the earth
its all within his plan
and I know this will be
my journey home
As Jesus entered Jerusalem on this day, he knew what his journey home would be. He knew what was coming and he did it anyway. He was “obedient to death”. He was ready.
Harper also talks about this being a song about spiritual freedom and how our life in this world is directly connected to the next world – as opposed to being a song about religion, which he feels is “often an insult to God” because it divides humanity. Hard to argue with that.
The beauty of this song is in its ending:
Covet no silver
covet no gold
reach your empty, reach your empty
hands for him to hold
up in the kingdom
glory shall be proclaimed
oh got to sing a song and praise his name.
We will come in prayer, reaching our empty hands (having given all our gold and silver in donations to Cyrus Centre, right?) and we’ll remember the gift of Jesus’ death, the way in which he emptied himself, humbled himself, and we’ll praise his name.
What does Palm Sunday hold for you?