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The Messiah March : The Triumphal Arrival at Jerusalem
Jesus arrives in or at the capital town of Jerusalem in this parade which is both dignified and satirical. The humbling action of arriving on an ordinary beast of burden and being acclaimed by the waving of palm branches and laying down of cloaks on the road are both fulfillments of Biblical imagery and prophecy in the Hebrew Scriptures and also a satirical mockery of the self-serving Roman customs of proclaiming their victorious commanders (and the Emperor) with such triumphal parades into Rome. It simultaneously proclaims both that God is on the move in the world and that the emperor has no clothes. It’s the declaration of challenge to the world powers, the status quo – Jesus turning the world not upside down, but rather right side up as he envisions it in the teaching we now call the beatitudes: Matthew 5:1-20. In following his example we actively resist the ways, means and ends of the world.
Let us say to Christ: Blessed is he who comes int he name of the Lord, the king of Israel. Let us wave before him like palm branches the words inscribed above him on the cross. Let us show him honor, not with olive branches, but with the splendor of merciful deeds to one another. Let us spread the thoughts and desires of our hearts under his feet like garments, so that he may raw the whole of our being into himself and place the whole of his in us.
18th century martyr Andrew of Crete (taken from Common Prayer. A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, p. 208).
Questions for Reflection: