A Crowd Gathers…and Disperses

In most Orthodox churches Palm Sunday is the best-attended service of the entire year. It can be bigger than Nativity (Christmas) and Pascha (Easter). We see crowds in the churches and in the gospels on Palm Sunday. And when the glory of the victorious entry into Jerusalem cools off the crowds drop off both in the Gospel and in the churches. There is, of course, a marked difference in spirit from Palm Sunday morning to Palm Sunday evening. It is tough to stay by His side.

Jesus comes to us as a humble King. The next time He comes will be in glory. But today He invites us to enter onto the road with Him to the Passion. Where will we be found? Will we disperse with the crowd and just go home after the festivities and do life as normal during the most sacred week of the entire year? Or will we drop everything and walk this road with Christ our King who has come to us because He loves us?

On Sunday, five days before the Passover of the Law, the Lord came from Bethany to Jerusalem. Sending two of His disciples to bring Him a foal of an ass, He sat thereon and entered into the city. When the multitude there heard that Jesus was coming, they straightway took up the branches of palm trees in their hands, and went forth to meet Him. Others spread their garments on the ground, and yet others cut branches from the trees and strewed them in the way that Jesus was to pass; and all of them together, especially the children, went before and after Him, crying out: “Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel” (John 12:13). This is the radiant and glorious festival of our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem that we celebrate today. The branches of the palm trees symbolize Christ’s victory over the devil and death. The word Hosanna means “Save, I pray,” or “Save, now.” The foal of an ass, and Jesus’ sitting thereon, and the fact that this animal was untamed and considered unclean according to the Law, signified the former uncleanness and wildness of the nations, and their subjection thereafter to the holy Law of the Gospel. from GOARCH.com

O Christ, Our God, we have been Buried with You through Baptism, and by Your Resurrection made worthy of Life immortal. Praising You, we cry out, “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Apolytikion

In Heaven, He is seated upon a Throne and on earth He rides upon a foal. O Christ our God, accept the praise of the Angels and the hymn of the Children who cry out to You, “Blessed are You who comes to recall Adam.” Kontakion

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