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Palm Sunday: A Tale of Two Kings

Today, we're diving into a retelling of the symbolism behind Palm Sunday. Grab your favourite cuppa, and let's journey back in time to the streets of ancient Jerusalem, where we'll witness a tale of two kings.

First, let's start with a fun quiz to test your Palm Sunday knowledge:

  1. Did people lay garments and branches for Jesus on Palm Sunday? Well, only John mentions palm branches, and they weren't even native to Jerusalem!

  2. Was Jesus' triumphal entry five days before Passover a special holiday? True indeed!

  3. Did Jesus riding a donkey make him a warrior king? Nope! A donkey symbolised peace and humility, a stark contrast to the war-hungry Romans.

Now, picture this: It's Palm Sunday, and the streets are abuzz with excitement as Jesus, the King of the Jews, enters Jerusalem. This was a time when Jesus' identity seemed to be recognised by many. But in just five weeks, we'd also be welcoming another king – King Charles III, with all the pomp and circumstance you'd expect!

Back in Jesus' day, riding on a donkey held significant symbolism. It was a nod to King Solomon, who also rode a donkey when he was anointed king. The donkey symbolised peace and humility, a direct contrast to the Roman Empire's Pilate, who represented war and oppression.

In the book, "The Last Week," theologians Borg and Crossan imagine Pilate and Jesus entering Jerusalem simultaneously from different gates. While we don't have historical evidence of this, it's an interesting thought! Imagine Pilate, surrounded by heavily armed soldiers, and Jesus, travelling with humble fishermen and women.

Two ideologies, two realms, two opposing orders paraded the streets of Jerusalem.

If you ever get the chance to visit Jerusalem, take it! You might see a picture of General Allenby, a British general who liberated Jerusalem from the Turks in 1917. Like Jesus, he chose to enter the city on foot out of respect for the Holy City, instead of riding triumphantly on a horse.

Palm Sunday presents us with a choice: Who will save us? Will we choose the ways of the world, where power and wealth reign supreme? Or will we open our hearts to a different kind of king, one who embodies humility, peace, and service?

So, as we celebrate Palm Sunday, let's remember to sing "Hosanna in the highest!" and embrace the message of love, humility, and service brought by Jesus, our Redeemer and King.

Happy Palm Sunday, everyone! Now, go forth and spread some cheer! 🌴

Full abridged text of Neil's address
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