Sermon 9th April 2017 (Palm Sunday)

St Columba’s Church of Scotland

Reflection on Palm Sunday

Revd Andrea Price

Listen Here: https://youtu.be/_M2dcm8wtbY

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you our Lord and Saviour.

 

In your hand you hold a palm cross. It has come a long way.

These Palm crosses were made in eight villages in the Masasi area of southern Tanzania, Mpeta, Namikunda, Mulndelunde, Murmbarka, Machombei, Chivirikiti, Makanyama and Marika.

African Palm crosses are made from Dwarf Palms (Hyphaena Coriacea) which grow wild and are not cultivated.

The villagers, whose only other source of income is the sale of their cashew nuts, cut the palms in an area near Mbangara, where they grow wild.

They are then dried and cut into strips before being transported back to the villages, by bicycle or on foot. They are then woven into Palm Crosses and taken to a central collection point which at present is in Mpeta. The crosses are then taken by road to one of the ports, e.g. Dar-es Salam to be shipped to US and UK.

Any money villagers earn from palm crosses is used for the usual household necessities – clothes for the parents and their children, salt, soap and any money required to get to the nearest hospital for medical treatment.

 

With this small cross we encourage people in their daily lives.

 

In your hand you hold a palm leaf ….

 

…reminding us of the joy and hope, the high expectations with which Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem.

 

People cheered, used their cloaks to spread before Jesus’ and his donkey instead of a red carpet.

 

Others tore branches off the trees and waved them in welcome.

 

They were hoping that Jesus would bring change, stop oppression and injustice, freedom for his people.

 

What of our hopes?

Do we hope that God might free us and others? Or have we become worldly wise, lowered expectations, are even cynical? What good can come from Galilee?

 

What of our welcome?

Do we cheer or wearily listen to another story, a story for children?

 

In your hand you hold a palm cross…

Not a toy for children but symbol for the fickle nature of crowds, cheering, full of adulation one minute and turning nasty, scorning the next when their expectations are not met.

 

In your hand you hold a palm cross….

Roman sign of shame and failure, embraced by Jesus, who spread his arms on it wide, wide in welcome to all, whom this world would discard as lesser life.

 

So hold this palm cross dear in the days to come…

  • It has come from God’s children far from here
  • It has come to remind us of the costly welcome God makes in Jesus
  • It welcomes each one of us to take up our cross and follow him through death to full life

Amen