Posted by: Fr Chris | March 27, 2021

Entry into Jerusalem

Large Icon Painted on Glass with Hand Painted by VArtGallery

Today we begin Holy Week, the most important time of the year for all Christians. Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. He is joyfully welcomed by pilgrims and residents of Zion alike, yet in a few days He will be cruelly tortured and crucified.

The icons show Jesus riding on the colt of a donkey, an animal that had never had a human rider on its back. But the colt submits instantly to Jesus: it recognizes its Creator, and further it is a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9: “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.”

People had heard of the raising of Lazarus from the dead after four days in the tomb, as well as of Jesus’ preaching and miracles over the past years. The crowds placed their cloaks on the road as a sign of submission to Jesus and honoring Him.  They cut branches to wave in the air as a sign of a royal welcome, and sang Hosanna which means “save now”:  the people were still looking for a military Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and establish an independent Jewish kingdom. The people acclaim Jesus as “Son of David”, thus giving Him the title of Messiah, but not the Messiah Jesus had identified Himself as: the Prince of Peace. In western Churches, the Passion is read today. In Eastern Churches, only the entry into Jerusalem is read, as we begin a chronology of walking with the Lord every day this week, culminating in Easter/ Pascha.

The custom developed of using 
pussy willows instead of palm fronds because the palms were very expensive to import, and the pussy willows are the first flowering branches in northern and eastern Europe.


“Spring Cleaning” is done early in Holy Week. The entire house is to be scrubbed, dusted, and polished so as to be ready for the newly-risen Lord on Easter Sunday. This is a Christian adaptation to the Jewish practice of cleaning the house out for Passover.  This should all be done by Holy Wednesday though, so that the services can be fully enjoyed from that night forward.

Technology Darkness: all ages, 12-24 hours
Good Friday church services often end in total darkness, leaving worshipers to imagine their lives in the wake of the dark hours after Christ’s crucifixion. While functioning as a family in total darkness might not be practical, there is a way to practice living in darkness: go dark with your technology.

  • “Unplug” from noon on Good Friday until noon on Holy Saturday.
  • Turn off (and put away!) all cell phones, tablets, game consoles, televisions, radios and computers for twenty-four hours.
  • Reflect together on how disjointed, disconnected, lost, anxious, helpless or frustrated each family member feels without their devices. On that first Good Friday, many lives were turned upside down by Christ’s death: Mary, Martha, James, John, Peter, Andrew, just to name a few…For these people and the other followers of Christ, Good Friday was more than just sad. It was a day of feeling anxious, lost, disconnected, frustrated, and helpless.
  • Ask questions: How different would our worlds be if the Story of God had stopped on Good Friday? What would life be like if grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness were not available to us?


If you decide to stay plugged in to social media, use your social media to proclaim the events of the week. Instead of posting political rants, pictures of your food, or updates about your activities, post Bible passages and links to great works of art that point to the most important social act of all time: how God in His great mercy kept His promise, given to Adam and Eve, to redeem His creation.

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