Letter to the Parish - Friday 26 March 2021

First published on: 26th March 2021

Dear all,

I like going to the seaside! I like the hustle and bustle, the sound of the sea, the ice cream and fish and chips, sandcastle building and a ride on the donkeys. I remember as a child queuing up to have a ride on the donkeys at Blackpool; they did not go very fast or very far, but it was always the highlight of the day. 

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, and we will hear again the story of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. The crowds go wild! There is waving of palms and the road being covered with people’s cloaks. There is an expectation, “Hosanna!” they shout, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” There is a sense of something happening, a king has come and is going to get rid of the occupying forces…?

Whatever was happening, whatever expectations they had, they had not got it completely right. Jesus was the one whom the prophets had talked about, he was the king they had been expecting, the messiah, the saviour, but not in the way that they expected.

As we head into Holy week, we know that the shouts of “Hosanna!” turn to the cry to “Crucify Him!”, we know that the cloaks being laid before Him turns into people taking lots to take His clothes, we know that the waving of palm branches disappear and instead Jesus is given red wine vinegar from a sponge on a stick as He is crucified, we know that those closest to Him as he enters Jerusalem, betray and deny Him. 

We also know that death could not hold or defeat Him and that three days later He is risen to life. Jesus has blown expectations out of the water, not a temporary fix to remove occupying forces but a permanent fix for the whole earth. 

All who believe in Him will not perish but have Eternal life.

I wonder what our expectations of Jesus are?

May our focus this Holy Week be on the one who came humbly riding on a donkey. May we be reminded of all that He did and does for us. May we be encouraged and comforted that in Him we have a wonderful saviour.

God Bless

Gareth


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