Palm Sunday 2020

Palm Sunday procession enters Salisbury Cathedral

What happened today

Jesus, who had spent the night with his disciples at Bethany, asked two of them to go to nearby Bethphage and bring the donkey and colt tethered there.

Kings would normally arrive by horse but Jesus rode on a donkey when he set out for Jerusalem.

The disciples laid their cloaks on the donkey for a saddle whilst other supporters spread their own cloaks on the ground.

They also laid and waved newly cut palm branches which were a national symbol of Judaea brandished at times of celebration and depicted on coins.

The two mile route was to the top of the Mount of Olives, for the first view of Jerusalem, and then down the rough road behind the Garden of Gethsemane into the Kedron Valley.

Here on the downward slope the crowd shouted: ‘Hosanna
to the Son of David!’, ‘Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord!’ and ‘Hosanna in the highest heavens!’ -all phrases are from psalm 118 sung in procession at Jewish festivals.

Ahead, up the slope, was the Golden Gate leading directly to the Temple in the walled city of Jerusalem.

Church processions & palms

The outdoor procession to church which would normally precede today’s Mass represents Jesus’s donkey ride to Jerusalem.

Canterbury Cathedral’s blessing of palms at 10am is being streamed live.

Viewers with access to a garden might like to hold some greenery. Before dried palms were imported the choice would have been box, willow and yew. In Kent the yew tree was known as the palm.

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