Pastor Scotty Smith’s Palm Sunday prayer

April 13, 2014

Pastor Scotty Smith of Christ Community Church in Nashville has posted a great Palm Sunday prayer at his blog Heavenward:

Prayer for Palm Sunday

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. Zech. 9:9-12

Dear Lord Jesus, we’ll exhaust the wonder of this passage as soon as we drink Niagara Falls dry; as soon as we memorize the names of every star you’ve launched into the heavens; as soon as we finish climbing all the Alps in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and France. You are the King of Zechariah’s vision, and on this Palm Sunday, we worship, honor, and bless you.

No other king could show up to conquer warhorses and warriors, humbly riding on the foal of a donkey. No other king could break the battle bow and the backbone of all warfare, by the brokenness of the cross. No other king could supplant the politics of evil and tyranny of power, with an eternal reign of peace.

No other king could offer his life and death, for the redemption and restoration, of rebels and idolaters like us. No other king could possibly make prisoners of sin, death, and “waterless pits,” into prisoners of hope.

Lord Jesus, you are that King—the King of glory, the King of kings and Lord of lords—the Monarch of mercy, the Governor of grace, the Prince of Peace. Great is our rejoicing, for you have come to us, righteous and victorious, loving and sovereign.

By the riches of your grace, continue to free us from waterless pits, broken cisterns and worthless idols. By the power of the gospel, enable us to live as prisoners of hope and agents of redemption until the Day you return to finish making all things new. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and matchless name.

Holy Week Quotes: Pope Benedict XVI – Who is the Messiah to US?

April 2, 2012

From Pope Benedict XVI’s Palm Sunday Homily yesterday, challenging questions for reflection:

The majority, in fact, was disappointed by the way Jesus chose to present himself as Messiah and King of Israel. This is the heart of today’s feast, for us too. Who is Jesus of Nazareth for us? What idea do we have of the Messiah, what idea do we have of God? It is a crucial question, one we cannot avoid, not least because during this very week we are called to follow our King who chooses the Cross as his throne. We are called to follow a Messiah who promises us, not a facile earthly happiness, but the happiness of heaven, divine beatitude. So we must ask ourselves: what are our true expectations? What are our deepest desires, with which we have come here today to celebrate Palm Sunday and to begin our celebration of Holy Week?

The full text is here.

Holy Week Quote: From Palm Sunday to Good Friday – the crucifixion of all our false expecations

April 2, 2012

The quote below was a quote that came up when I did a google search yesterday for “Palm Sunday quotes.”  I know nothing much about the author, but this theme of the crucifying of our “false sinful expectations” as to who Jesus is and what He came to do, resonates with me.   I am so quick to try and make Jesus into my own image, to try and get Him to meet my needs and desires.   I have been convicted that too often I may “honor Him with my lips” while my “heart is far from Him” – just as the crowds on Palm Sunday did – those who cried “Hosanna!” on one day, but “Crucify Him!” just a few days later.

I pray the Lord will use this Holy Week to conform me – heart, mind, soul, understanding – into His image, that I may be steadfast in loving what He loves and in following His ways.


The only way you can be delivered from that sin is to have your false expectations destroyed, once and for all. And that is precisely what happened between Palm Sunday and Good Friday . Jesus drew the false, sinful expectations of the world unto himself, absorbed them, and bore them on the cross. His death was the death of all of our false expectations, and therefore his death was the death of sin itself. The false piety of Palm Sunday is crucified on Good Friday and buried that night, in order that true faith in God might be created on Easter through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Edwin Peterman

I found the quote here.

Palm Sunday: The Victory of Humility – antidote to Pride and Original Sin

April 1, 2012

An excellent reflection on Palm Sunday and Christ’s Humility.  VERY worth reading!

The events of Holy Week are much more about love and humility.

That’s why on Passion Sunday we read the powerful words of Paul’s letter from the Philippians (2:6-11).  Though the Divine Word was God, dwelling in the serene heights of heavenly glory, he freely plunged to the depths of human misery, joining himself to our frail nature, entering into our turbulent world.  As if this act of humility were not enough, he further humbled himself, accepting the status of a slave.  His act of stooping down to wash the feet of his disciples (Jn 13) was a parable of his whole human existence, for this act was regarded as so undignified that not even Israelite slaves could be compelled to do it.

But that’s just it.  Jesus was not compelled to do it.  He willingly lowered himself in his birth, in his ministry, in his death.  No one took his life from him.  He freely laid down his own life (Jn 10:18).  Others did not have the chance to humble him; he humbled himself.

It had to be so.  The Second Adam had to undo the damage caused by the first.  What was the sin our first parents?  They disobeyed because they wanted to know what God knew, to be like God, to exalt themselves over God (Gen 3).  They were bitten by the Serpent, and injected with the deadly venom of Pride.  The antidote, the anti-venom could only be humility.  The foot-washing, donkey-riding New Adam would crush the head of the deadly serpent by means of loving, humble obedience.

The first-born of many brothers lowered himself to the dust from which the First Adam has been made–indeed humility comes from the word “humus.” But God responded to his humility by exalting him far above Caesars, kings, and even Hollywood stars.  And he invites us to share his glory with him.  But first we must walk on his road to glory, the royal road of the cross.

H/T Anglican Daily Prayer

A Poem for Palm Sunday: GK Chesterton’s “The Donkey”

April 1, 2012

The Rev. Patrick Comerford has posted GK Chesterton’s poem “The Donkey” as his Palm Sunday entry in his Lenten Poems series.

The Donkey, by GK Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked,
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood,
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry,
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
Of all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient, crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hours and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.


Here is a further portion of the full blog entry with a reflection on the poem:

The donkey serves as literary device to link birth and death, Christmas and Easter, We often think of the donkey as the lowly, humble, unattractive beast of burden who carries Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. But the Christ Child also rode on a donkey when he was carried in the womb by his mother, the Virgin Mary, to Bethlehem before his birth.

However, this poem points us, not so much to the donkey, but to our “Beast of Burden,” Christ, who carried the burden that no one else could bear – the sins of the world. Christ looked even more “monstrous” than the donkey (Isaiah 52: 14), he was “starved, scourged, derided,” four times in the Gospels he was “dumb,” but his hour of glory came on the cross.

Is the donkey too hard on himself? But then, most us may be too hard on ourselves. If the lowly beast of burden becomes a bearer of the King, then surely Christ can see through the ways our perceptions of our own worth and understanding are at times awry and distorted.

On this day, 1 April, it might be too easy to think of the donkey as foolish. The donkey may be derided as a stupid animal, yet he is used by God for the most triumphal journey in history, highlighting the difference between God’s wisdom and ours. No matter how humble or crushed in spirit we may feel, we are all God’s beloved children and we are all capable of being raised in glory.

Nobody is truly worthless, no matter what others may think. Just as the donkey is an unsung, unloved and unattractive creature who becomes the hero in Chesterton’s poem, so too the most humble and unattractive people, even though they are without social connections or the appearance of being important, are seen by Christ as who they truly are, made in God’s image and likeness.

The donkey remains dumb and does not declare his moment of greatness to those who deride him. Instead, his experience is an internal knowledge of his true value.

The image of the donkey in his moment of glory carrying Christ speaks of the intrinsic worth of every human, and the glory of every human soul in God’s love. In God’s eyes, we all deserve palms before our feet.


I’ve really appreciated the Rev. Comerford’s Lenten poetry series this Lent and encourage you to browse through some of the wonderful poems and reflections.

A Collection of Palm Sunday Prayers and Devotionals

April 1, 2012

palm-branch-crossUpdated 1 April 2014  (over 15 new entries added!)

Here are some of the Palm Sunday entries we’ve posted over the years at Lent & Beyond.  You can find all our Palm Sunday entries here.


Note:  We’re posting up a storm for Palm Sunday 2014.  Here’s a list of all our newest entries for Palm Sunday (12 entries and counting…!)

Palm Sunday Quotes:  The Jerusalem in Our Hearts (2013)

More Pontifications blog archives [2005]: Lent, Holy Week & Easter Devotionals (2012)

A collection of fantastic Holy Week Devotions from the Pontifications blog archives [2004]  (2012)

Holy Week Devotional & Family Resources (2012)

The Messiah – Keeping Him at the Center (2012)

Holy Week Quotes: Pope Benedict XVI – Who is the Messiah to Us? (2012)

Holy Week Quote: From Palm Sunday to Good Friday – the crucifixion of all our false expecations (2012)

A reflection/prayer for Holy Week: Not moving too quickly from “Hosanna” to “Hallelujah” (2012)

Palm Sunday: The Victory of Humility – antidote to Pride and Original Sin (2012)

A Poem for Palm Sunday: GK Chesterton’s “The Donkey” (2012)

A Palm Sunday Prayer of Adoration: What Other King? Only Jesus! (2012)

A Palm Sunday Prayer by Christine Sine: A call to follow the one who welcomes sinners (2012)

Palm Sunday and Holy Week Prayers (2012)

A Reflection As We Begin Holy Week: The beginning of a journey into a new covenant, and the “brave music” of Palm Sunday (2012)

Palm Sunday – (2011) Jill reflects on the triumphal entry and God’s command in Zephaniah to the Daughter of Zion to sing and rejoice.

A Confession and Prayer for Palm Sunday – Hosanna! A Prayer for Salvation (2010)

Christine Sine: Reflections on Christ’s Triumphal Procession (2009)

Prayer and Songs for Palm Sunday: Ride on to die – the contrast between exuberance and sorrow (2009)

A Litany of Humility (2009)

David Ould: Enter the King (2006 – archived entry)


Here’s the link for many of our prior years’ Holy Week entries (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday)

And here is our Holy Week category

A Reflection As We Begin Holy Week: The beginning of a journey into a new covenant, and the “brave music” of Palm Sunday

April 1, 2012

One of the blogs I’ve discovered this Lent is a blog called Barnstorming, by a woman named Emily Polis Gibson, a wife, mother, farmer and family physician living in rural Washington.  She has posted some powerful Lenten meditations in recent weeks, and several of them seemed particularly apt for Holy Week and I will be posting a number of excerpts here.

Her March 19 Lenten Devotional, the Flooded Path, which begins with a quote from St. Augustine, seemed an excellent reflection to post at the beginning of Holy Week, as we reflect on Jesus’  entry into Jerusalem and his relentless procession  ever closer to the moment of His death.

I like how Emily has described those final steps to the Cross as ‘the beginning of a journey into a new covenant.”  And the quote she references from Augustine has got me thinking much about Palm Sunday and the exuberant worship ot that day.  Did those shouts of Hosanna and exaltation of Jesus as King give our Lord courage to walk that desperately hard path ahead, reminding Him of the unceasing praise He would receive for eternity once He had finished the work His Father had given Him and sat down at His right hand? Were those cries of Hosanna “brave music,” in Augustine’s words, that fortifed Jesus for the trials ahead?  Perhaps.


God of our life,
there are days when the burdens we carry
chafe our shoulders and weigh us down;
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies grey and threatening;
when our lives have no music in them,
and our hearts are lonely,
and our souls have lost their courage.

Flood the path with light,
run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise;
tune our hearts to brave music;
give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age;
and so quicken our spirits
that we may be able to encourage the souls of all
who journey with us on the road of life,
to Your honour and glory.
— Augustine

Those final few days may have been like this:
the sky oppressive with storm clouds,
the shouldered burden too painful,
the soul weighed down, discouraged, disheartened.
Each step brought Him closer
to a desperate loneliness borne of betrayal and rejection.

But the end of that dark walk was just the beginning
of a journey into new covenant.

Instead of rain, those clouds bore light, flooding the pathway so we can come together to lift the load.
Instead of loneliness, there arises community.
Instead of stillness, there is declaration of glory.
Instead of discouragement, He embodies hope for all hearts.
The promise fulfilled, spills over our path.
We are drenched.

The full devotional at Barnstorming is here.

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