Sunday, 24 March 2013

Palm Sunday

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
Hark! all the tribes Hosanna cry;
Thy Humble beast pursues its road
With palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die!
O Christ! Thy triumph now begin
Over captive death and conquered sin.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
The wing├Ęd squadrons of the sky
Look down with sad and wondering eyes
To see the approaching sacrifice.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh;
The Father, on His sapphire throne,
Expects His own anointed Son.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
Bow Thy meek head to mortal pain,
Then take, O God, Thy power, and reign.

The third and fourth verses of this hymn we sang today speak elegantly of what we will be celebrating in the coming week. Christ is truly our sacrifice. He enters Jerusalem to offer himself for us and for the whole world.

But we misunderstand sacrifice if we think it is all about destruction, death, and violence. Far too often the Cross is presented as the appeasing of a wrathful God by the violent death of an innocent victim. No, what matters is not how Jesus dies, but who it is who lives and dies. Jesus is the Father's 'own anointed Son'. Our Christ, our anointed one, is both God and a human being. As a human being, living and dying as one of us, he invites us into the offering of love that is at the heart of the life of God. This offering, lived out in a human life, was summed up on the Cross.

It is an offering we are invited to participate in, this week and every week.

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