I've long believed that the church has got it wrong reading the Passion narrative on 'Palm' Sunday. What's the point of pre- empting the punch of the Good Friday liturgy (if we do that Liturgy properly, that is!)? Or, alternatively, why bother to worship again on Good Friday if you've already heard it all on Palm Sunday?! It's my impression that Palm Sunday has long overtaken Good Friday so far as priority for worship is concerned. What's your experience? And why? I'm trying to say Gospel needs to be strongly connected with Liturgy, & vice-versa, if we're to be as connected wth God as can be.
I never cease to marvel at the way Jesus connects with God via his Hebrew Bible roots. Spot on. He never tries to make spiritual capital in his own right, or for his own glory. Always connecting & inter-connecting with previous chapters of God's unfolding story. (He always makes me think of the Italian railways. Criss-crossing just about all over the country by means of 'coincidenze'. Connections, not co-incidences (as may be the case with some other countries' railways!) Jesus' connections are always God-incidents, not co-incidences. An important preaching point, theologically. There is nothing co-incidental about his borrowing of the donkey (he even knows & gives his followers its pin-number!). The story (Jesus, too!) is immersed in ZECH 9 & PS 118, not to mention IS & JER. Connections, connections!
How many of the great crowd of disciples go the distance with Jesus? As far as the city? Into the city? Beyond the city? To the green hill outside the wall? How far are we ourselves prepared to go? Even as far as the least of them? Where I am on my own journey I find it helpful to think of myself as not only Jesus' disciple, but Jesus' friend. I can't earn either 'title', but I can receive it by Grace, despite my shortcomings.
There's always room for us in God's procession, whether we can only manage to wave a bit of broken-off palm or olive branch, or can afford a cloak or a bit of one. Whether we can go the whole distance or not. All that is a matter of grace, & grace, dare I say, is always up for grabs! Always plenty to go around. More, God is never still, always on the move, & always welcomes the company of people like you & me.
The clash with the 'establishment' in the Temple (like the raising of Lazarus before it) helps trigger Jesus' Passion. Sometimes 'raising' someone, challenging the powers-that-be in our churches, exposing spiritual crooks in our midst preying on people, all that kind of thing, calls us to venture beyond our normal limits, onto less familiar territory, into personal danger of one kind or another for God, maybe God in one of us. If we make the right connections, God's train will come along, gather us up, & take us to our Final Destination, all in God's time. But likely we'll have to change at some Good Friday before we reach our Easter.