Orthodox Cycle of Services,
Palm Sunday

Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church

Rt. Reverend Archpriest Alexander Androsov, Rector

306 Beech Street
Manchester, New Hampshire 03103
603/623-1700



Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church

    Following the conclusion of the 40-day Great Lent, we arrive at the commemoration of the last week in Christ's earthly life, the time referred to as Holy Week or Passion Week. It was the time for the Lamb of God to be offered up at Jerusalem to take away the sin of the world.
    For more than three years our Lord Jesus Christ had gone from village to town proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand, how He was to inaugurate that kingdom, and that He was to proclaim Himself the King of that kingdom.
    The proclamation began in a remarkable way. On the Saturday before His Entry into Jerusalem for Passover, the Lord came to the tomb of his friend Lazarus. Our Lord called to Lazarus and raised him from the dead. News of this miracle spread near and far in a hurry, and it is no wonder that the throngs of people, coming to Jerusalem for the Passover, wanted to see the one who was resurrected and the One through whose power and prayer the resurrection was effected.
    While many rejoiced at the news of Christ's raising of Lazarus, there were others for whom it was the last sad signal for despair. From the very beginning of the Lord's ministry, there was a group of Jewish religious leaders which consistently opposed Him. The scribes, Pharisees, and Saducees considered Christ an imposter because He proclaimed Himself God. They did not like the Lord's attitude towards the traditions of the elders and the letter of the Mosiac law. Nor did they like His continued and increasing influence with the people. When they heard that Christ had raised Lazarus from the grave, they decided to put both of them to death.
    It was on the eve of this day that the Lord's friends "made Him a supper" at the home of Simon the leper. Here Martha served and Mary lovingly anointed His feet with precious ointment for His burial.
    Sunday dawned, and the Lord was set to enter Jerusalem. Historicaly, it is clear that Christ on this day finally and conclusively presented Himself to the Israelites as their King. Up to this time, the Lord had consistently rejected the many attempts to proclaim Him. Now His time was at hand, and Jesus Himself arranged the acclamation. He directed His disciples to obtain the beast - one never ridden before - that was to bear Him in royal fashion.
    The multitude responded to the solemnity and awesomeness of the occasion. They recognized the fullfillment of prophecy: "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."(Zechariah 9:9) Now He was acknowledged the Messiah and Redeemer of Israel.
    Exultation gripped the throng. Many took off their coats and spread them along the way of the procession. Others broke branches from the trees and bushes and waved them in joy and acclamation. Still others strewed flowers along the way. All raised their voices in proclaiming:

"Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest." (St. Matthew 21:9)

As the procession made its way to Jerusalem, "...all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." (St. Matthew 21:10-11)
    There was no stopping the acclaim of the hour. Jesus Himself said, "I tell you, if these should hold their peace, the very stones on the road would cry out." (St. Luke 19:40) The procession passed on into the city and proceeded into the very temple, despite the opposition of the Jewish leaders.
    Let us in our day proclaim the kingdom of Christ in our lives and our society. What a need there is for the kingship of the Lord, for His reign and influence and command. What a need for us to respond to Him as King with our love and loyalty to all He stands for. Let us proclaim Christ our King this day.

Amen.



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