Palm Sunday 2011

Most people know the Sunday before Easter as Palm Sunday, but it is also called Passion Sunday in acknowledgement of the Passion (meaning the suffering and death) of Jesus. The gospels describe Palm or Passion Sunday as what is called the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, riding on the back of a donkey, with crowds shouting his praise and waving branches.
Palm Sunday begins in celebration and ends in a darker note, boding the coming arrest, trial and execution of Jesus.
Palm or Passion Sunday ushers Christians into Holy Week and is the encapsulation of Lent, said the Rev. Kermit Culver, pastor at Legacy United Methodist Church in Bismarck: “the fickleness of people, who cheered Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem and less than a week later, called for his head.”
Five pastors from four United Methodist churches in Bismarck and Mandan are planning their first Palm Sunday walk and invite the community to join them this Sunday, Palm Sunday.
Pastors Perry Schnabel of Calvary United Methodist, Ray Baker and Rick Fossum of McCabe United Methodist, Culver, and Steve Johnson of Mandan United Methodist, have organized the walk, which is open to youth, families and anyone who wants to participate.
A large wooden cross will be carried at the head of the procession and walkers are invited to ‘follow the cross,’ Culver said.

Palm Sunday 2011
Palm Sunday.

Dover. St. John’s Episcopal Church will begin Holy Week observance on Palm Sunday with Eucharist and distribution of palms at 10 a.m. in English and 12:30 p.m. in Spanish.
The rest of the week will include a Stations of the Cross and washing of the feet on Thursday at 7 p.m. On Good Friday, members of the church will join with other Dover congregations in the annual Cross Walk beginning at noon at First Methodist Church on Blackwell Street.
At the same time (from noon to 3 p.m.) St. John’s will be open to all who wish to meditate and pray at any time in observance of the three hours Christ spent on the cross.
The Easter celebration will be held on April 24 with Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. in English and in both Spanish and English at 12:30 p.m.

In the Spirit. The Rev. Rob John.
For the last month, whenever I have looked at a familiar passage from the Bible, I have been struck by a word or phrase that I don’t remember seeing before. Several of the passages are ones I have looked at over and over again.
For example, in the third chapter of John’s Gospel, Nicodemus has a conversation with Jesus. In verse 2 John tells us: “Nicodemus came to Jesus at night.” I have read that passage over and over again over the years. It was not until three weeks ago that I realized Jesus was approached by Nicodemus at night. One month ago, if you had asked me what time of day Nicodemus approached Jesus, I would not have known. Now I will always remember it was at night.
As Christians around the world celebrate Palm Sunday tomorrow, Matthew and Mark tell us the familiar story of Jesus entering Jerusalem. Many can recount the details. We have heard them at Mass or a worship service countless times. Jesus sent two disciples into the village near Bethphage to untie a colt. The disciples are to say: “The Lord needs it.”
We might also remember the branches spread on the road in front of Jesus. The shouts of ‘Hosanna’ are ones we remember.
For many, the recollection ends there. Matthew tells us a little bit more of the story.
He tells us in verse 10: “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’” I know I’ve read this verse countless times over the years. But as I read this verse this week, the question struck me in a new way.
‘Who is this?’ is a question that we have to ask ourselves. Who is Jesus? The skeptics will say, just another person, nobody special. The faithful will say: “The Son of God.” If you were to ask 10 different people, it’s likely that you would get 10 different responses. There might be some common themes, but it’s likely that the responses would run the theological gamut.

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