Palm Sunday, 2024

Worship is a very strange thing. I think sometimes we are so used to what we are doing that we fail to be awestruck by it or to think about it. There is nothing wrong with that. The prayer which is spoken is still spoken and I have had some of my most profound spiritual experiences while I was singing songs which I knew so well that I had no need of a hymnal or a worship folder to sing. The Angus Dei particularly comes to mind for that.

For many of us, when we come to the Supper of our Lord, we will sing the words of the Sanctus which mash together two events in the Bible. We will start with “Holy, holy, holy,…” hence the title of the canticle. But the second half the canticle takes us from Isaiah’s call vision with its majesty and awe-filled response of Isaiah to the crowds in Jerusalem, holding their fronds aloft, shouting Hosannas to Jesus and declaring that “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” By singing that song we are transported to be there with Isaiah and those crowds. We are in the present of the Almighty and we are welcoming in the Incarnate Lord to the occasion of His death and resurrection.

We will likely have a palm frond in hand as we sing this song this week. But every week, even when we don’t have a palm frond, we are singing this song at every supper. Why do you need to be there with them? The preacher will want to ask that question of himself and think about that for his sermon. Why are we here? Why are we doing this? These are deep waters. You will want to ponder this carefully and just fully. We stand on holy ground this day, barefoot with Israelite pilgrims in the hot Judean sun.

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