The welcoming crowd 9 April 2017

A reflection/meditation for Palm Sunday

I had waited for this day the whole of my life

it was a warm spring day, with the soft sun illuminating the city walls

We were outside the, watching, waiting, to see what was going to happen.

The city gates were struggling to cope with the number of people trying to get through to the holy city, Jerusalem

I had waited a long time for this day, as my family were poor and lived too far from Jerusalem to make the journey every year. Some of my cousins had made the journey, and now it was my turn.

In many ways, I could not get my head around the sight I saw.

Hundreds of thousands of people, thronging towards the city

The crowd was hard to describe, almost like a river of people; all heading in the same direction; all travelling to bring their praise and sacrifice to God.

Once in the crowd, it was impossible to break free from its grip

I could hear the singing and lamentations from within the city walls. How on earth could any more people enter its gates?

And I could hear the sound of lambs.

Soon enough their bleating would end as they were offered to God on our behalves by the priest in the temple

That would come in a few days. Today was the start of our festivities, the start of us preparing to celebrate passover.

Outside and inside the city, I heard the crowd singing Hosanna to God, praises to God, for his faithfulness to us, for him delivering us from slavery in Egypt and bringing us to the promised land.

The crowd sings and praises and celebrates, as remembering God’s faithfulness to us, as his chosen people

But also sing in the hope that God will come, once more, and save us.

Though I’m part of the crowd, this sea of people, because it’s my first time here, I feel so overwhelmed by the whole sight.

So I watch, in awe and wonder at the scene around me, the scene I am somehow caught up in, as I am now a part of the crowd

As I watch, I see in the distance a man coming towards us.

What is he doing? Or, more to the point, why is he so tall?

Wait a minute, he’s riding a donkey

I watch as the dust from the road is whipped up by the donkey and the crowd. There must be something quite remarkable about this man.

2 minutes ago, no one could have seen the road for the size of the crowd

Now, the throng has opened up. It’s like the parting of the Red Sea before our very eyes

And people have begun to sing their Hosannas to him. Praises to God now being sung to a man?

The crowd are singing ‘blessed be the one who comes in the name of the Lord’ to him

I find myself joining in. Buoyed by the crowd, part of the crowd.

I don’t understand it, but this man on a donkey seems to be the one we’ve been waiting for.

Is this a new passover?

I hear my voice raise ever louder, along with the crowd.

Blessed be the one who comes in the name of the Lord”

Blessed be the one who comes in the name of the Lord”

I am carried away by the jubilation, the joy, the optimism that seems to have swept through the crowd.

Swept through me

As we watch this man ride into Jerusalem on a donkey

It’s a remarkable thing to be part of

We’re all pressed close to one another, there’s so many of us

The people near the front of the crowd throw their cloaks down.

In honour at their…their king


Is this God’s anointed?

The one who we have longed for?

The one who will be our saviour

Hosanna, hosanna, blessed be the name of the Lord” I sing

Blessed be the one who comes in the name of the Lord” the whole crowd seems to reply

I had waited the whole of my life for this day