Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hosanna to the Son of David

Today is Palm Sunday.

So His Grace is not going to concern himself with trivial distractions, such as the fact that Archbishop Vincent Nichols has used the opportunity to give a high-profile interview to The Sunday Telegraph in which he accuses the Prime Minister of duplicity and criticises the Big Society for ‘lacking teeth’. And neither does His Grace wish to dwell on the announcement by the Muslim Council of Britain that ‘not covering the face is a "shortcoming" and suggest(ing) that any Muslims who advocate being uncovered could be guilty of rejecting Islam’; or that the Deputy Prime Minister is obsessing about constitutional change to scrap the principle of male primogeniture, which will have absolutely no significance until the Royal couple’s second-born (and only then if their first born is a girl and the second born a boy); or that ConservativeHome is following up its call for Islam to be adopted as the state religion with quite un-Burkean support for this constitutional meddling; or that former soldier Colin Atkinson has been told by his employer that he may not display a palm cross in his company van (which is not his property, and His Grace cannot for the life of him work out what the issue is here: the van belongs irrefutably to Caesar).

No, today is Palm Sunday.

The focus will be Christ.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.

As we enter this Holy Week - the most solemn and intense period of worship in the Christian calendar – it is important to remember that it begins with supreme joy as Jesus entered Jerusalem as the fulfilment of the long-promised salvation of Israel.

Palm leaves to the Romans were a symbol of victory and of military prowess. The Jewish people simply echoed this practice, perhaps drawing on 1 Maccabees where it is recorded that the people waved palm branches to celebrate the independence of Jerusalem and Judea.

In the palm cross we find a symbol of Christ's grace which simultaneously fuses the joy of his triumph with the profound sorrow of his death. The Passion Gospel is forever in the background of the Hosannas of the people – a people who could never have foreseen what would befall their Messiah just a week later. They yearned for a king who would proclaim Israel’s independence from Rome; they wanted a Messiah who would be their religio-political hero; they wanted a Jesus who would fulfil their religious expectations and affirm their political agendas.

On this final Sunday of Lent, His Grace wishes to pause from temporal matters religio-political and eschew all trivial distractions to reflect on the fact that little has changed in two millennia. Even today, those who believe in Christ want a certain kind of Jesus; a certain type of Messiah – one who will bless our politics, bless our wars and battles, and will be ‘on our side’ against all our enemies, foreign and domestic. We seek a Messiah who will affirm out notion of truth, our interpretation of Scripture, our spiritual pilgrimage through this temporal existence.

Today is a day for humility; to reflect on the fact that Jesus did not enter Jerusalem riding a fine chariot, or the equivalent of a armoured vehicle or a Rolls Royce: he rode in on a donkey, like a humble peasant on a mission of peace.

And let us not forget that these same people who today shouted ‘Hosanna!’ are the same people who cried out ‘Crucify him!’ just five days later. And all because they realised that the Jesus who rode in on a donkey was not the Jesus they had invented in their minds, for he had an agenda which was not remotely in accordance with their own.

38 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen

17 April 2011 at 10:36  
Anonymous caruth67 said...

and again "Amen!"

17 April 2011 at 10:41  
Anonymous graham wood said...

"Islam is the most straightforwardly intuitive religion of all. Its core doctrines make perfect sense: there is one God over all the earth; He is our creator; He commands obedience from us; He will judge us at the end of our lives sending the virtuous to paradise and the wicked to hell."

This was part of 'Melancthon's argument for a "State" religion.
But as any reasonably instructed Christian already knows. such a concept is entirely alien to Scripture and the teaching of Christ.
So I ask - what possible reason can there be for ANY State religion let alone a suggestion that Christianity should be it.
Jesus said plainly "My kngdom is not of this world" - Christ and his kingdom is not dependent on the world's values, political systems, or any ideology.

As for the suggestion that the State should adopt Islam that too is equally absurd, for it would entail the legal endorsement of idolatry.
The "god" of Islam is not the God of the Bible. Both are mutually incompatible.
"Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is ONE God".

17 April 2011 at 10:50  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"ConservativeHome is following up its call for Islam to be adopted as the state religion"

I've just read that after following the link. Surely that's just being provocative as part of a polemic against secularism? Or did I misread its intent?

17 April 2011 at 10:54  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Anyway, wouldn't Judaism be better?

17 April 2011 at 10:54  
Anonymous len said...

How can Biblical Christianity be united with a Secular State?. the two are diametrically opposed.
The only thing this unholy union will breed is compromise, and compromise will be/is being the undoing of Christianity.
Christianity should cut itself loose from the trappings of State and return to its(pre Constantine ) roots.

(Word verification' Vultre'could this be an indication that the corpse of religion should be disposed of and return to simple faith in Christ?)

17 April 2011 at 11:23  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

'Today is a day for humility; to reflect on the fact that Jesus did not enter Jerusalem riding a fine chariot, or the equivalent of a armoured vehicle or a Rolls Royce: he rode in on a donkey, like a humble peasant on a mission of peace.'

Or a Popemobile.

Actually, every day is a day for humility; to reflect on the fact that Jesus did not enter Jerusalem riding a fine chariot...

What's the calendar got to do with it? No wonder some of your allegedly Christian contributors are so gung-ho, and so enamoured of violence. They seem to think we need bother with humility and self-denial for one or two days, because that's what the church calendar suggests.

The rest of the time we can be aggressive, wave guns about, say nasty things about Muslims, and generally try to revive the spirit of the crusades. As Jesus himself put it, they know not what manner of spirit they are of.

17 April 2011 at 11:31  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I am bemused Your Grace that the role of Passover is not linked more explicitly with Jesus entry into Jerusalem than appears to be the case. Surely the salvation of the Israelites through the mark of lamb's blood on the door has some symbolism.......but finding a church to say so is a long journey

17 April 2011 at 11:57  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Anabaptist said

"Actually, every day is a day for humility; to reflect on the fact that Jesus did not enter Jerusalem riding a fine chariot..."
It is indeed and shows that God goes out of His way to do things 'His Way', as opposed to how man does things.
"As Jesus himself put it, they know not what manner of spirit they are of." Sadly, I agree!

Len said
"How can Biblical Christianity be united with a Secular State?. the two are diametrically opposed." It was not always this way, old boy. There was a time when a majority of this nation loved the Lord, when Biblical Christianity was revealed to them but that love has waxed exceedingly cold, replaced by the promotion of 'common values or ethics'. Even though Ernst is not a massive adherent of creeds which are but a poster shot of the beliefs of said denomination, how many today actually believe in these as opposed to the founders of this statement at the formation of the CofE and suceeding generations.

"Christianity should cut itself loose from the trappings of State and return to its(pre Constantine ) roots."

True Christianity is always separate from the desires of a secular state.

"Christianity should cut itself loose from the trappings of State and return to its(pre Constantine ) roots." It is impossible because there is a multitude of reasons for people stating they are christians, some who even deny Christ Himself as the true foundation stone of this faith. This is the time of the delusion you spoke of yesterday, so it is to be expected, my fine fellow.

Voyager said
"....but finding a church to say so is a long journey" So very true.

Seasons blessings to you.

Ernst

17 April 2011 at 12:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Your Grace.

Can we expect more seasonal homilies for the Red Letter Days of this week and the next?

I hope so.

Although not one of your own masterpieces, may I offer a fitting collect (in its traditional version) to you and your communicants from the much maligned Episcopal Church of the USA:

ASSIST us mercifully with thy help, O Lord God of our salvation; that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts, whereby thou hast given unto us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

17 April 2011 at 12:19  
Blogger Ariadne said...

His Grace, full of Grace. And nice praetermittos.

17 April 2011 at 12:56  
Anonymous Red Admiral said...

"And let us not forget that these same people who today shouted ‘Hosanna!’ are the same people who cried out ‘Crucify him!’ just five days later."

Not two different groups of people? Galilean pilgrims camped outside the walls welcoming "their boy"; then Jerusalemites out to kill a threat to their religious tourist industry?

17 April 2011 at 15:29  
Anonymous Gerard Tibercross said...

Red Admiral is quite right that these were 2 different groups, but those with the palm fronds were not Galileans, who we know were quite hostile, but rather Judeans.

The crowd who cried for Barabbas were, it is widely thought, from the temple. They were in effect the Palestinian equivalent of the General Synod. This is the view specifically endorsed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, and Your Grace will surely agree with His Holiness on this occasion.

17 April 2011 at 16:16  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Picture and text well matched. (Clapper on the bell award?)

Dodo 17 April 14:08_ 'Last Temptation of Christ'. More challenging on that subject, and presumably more interesting to commenters and other visitors to this blog, would be Milton's Paradise Regained. But whether to read those 4 books before the 12 of Paradise Lost depends on the reader.

graham wood (10:50) " 'Islam....' part of Melancthon's argument for a State religion". It was a relief to find that this was not being attributed to the Melancthon known to be a learned and leading theologian at the time when the princes and peoples, scholars and clergy of Western European Christendom were in the throes of the struggle for the reformation of church government which this generation is heir to. Is "Melancthon" Don Cupitt?

"The 'god' of Islam is not the God of the Bible. Both are mutually incompatible." Quite so.

Blofeld (12:17) "... there is a multitude of reasons for people stating they are christians, some who even deny Christ Himself as the true foundation stone of this faith." ---another nugget of truth from that source.

Anonymous (12:19): It is good to be reminded that the Prayer Book collects are used in Episcopal Church in the USA.

17 April 2011 at 16:45  
Blogger Derek T Northcote said...

I see.

The intimacy you all have with doctrine altered many times over 2000 years.

And you all still lap it up as if it was fact.

Scooby Said (1:16): Snacks are a must.

Have your beliefs just STOP forcing others onto it and stop politicizing it.

Get your FN Bishops out of our alleged Democracy.

17 April 2011 at 16:49  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Please forgive inadvertent repeat in 16:45 re "Last Temptaion..."

17 April 2011 at 17:02  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

"Get your FN Bishops out of our alleged Democracy"

Now that's the sort of cherubic decency I love from our secularist brethren. Sort of reminds one of the synagogue of the libertines!

17 April 2011 at 17:58  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Personally, I like to express some gratitude to the dear donkey - for his part. And to Simon of Cyrene. And, the very tree of the forest that became the Cross - as Dream of the Rood persuades me.

For Christ, in His Wisdom, used His creations in this world to show how we can participate in our own Redemption.

Blessings to all, this Holy Week. [PS: Oh Joy - that our local Supermarket will be closed on Easter Sunday -- at least someone still dares to say "Easter" in public!]

17 April 2011 at 18:13  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I often wonder why so many people see christianity as just tosh yet never mentioning that what it occupies, may be of better quality than what they would suggest must replace it .

17 April 2011 at 18:43  
Anonymous Oswin said...

God is, as God is, and HE will have it no other way, for all our many bletherings. GOD the unknowable, is just that.

Which is not to say that we should suspend all credulity, or be overcome by the same. God gave us our intelligence to use, and not to merely subjugate ourselves, as some would have it, to a fixed prescripton.

We advance to, and with God, and not merely to run back to him for some nursery-like, thumb-sucking comfort; although I suspect that God comforts us thus, when we do so.

Oh to be wise! Or is it better to be simplistic, and just get on with it as best we may?

17 April 2011 at 19:13  
Anonymous MrJ said...

After reading the comments so far....

The Christian liturgical year has a sequence of festivals of which the best known are Christmas and Easter. The Jewish has Passover and other festivals and other religions likewise.

It is a fact (please note, a fact no less than the celestial conjunctions of the moon and sun and the turning of the stars by which calendars are reckoned) that such cycles have a definite significance for those who practise them regularly, and they find that it helps them mature in the knowledge of the significance of the life of mankind in relation to things seen and unseen.

Others may find the cycles of festivals quaint, or mumbo-jumbo, or something more or less than that. If they have little knowledge about these cycles of festivals but choose to make dismissive pronouncements about them, that could justly be described as bigotry.

Mere flippancy is something else.

17 April 2011 at 19:16  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Lifes minestrone is coming to the boil.

The confusion of forces are oscillating to the point of fusion.

The World has gone ape shit, as was the plan and I am on the side of Angels.

17 April 2011 at 19:17  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

MrJ 17 April 2011 16:45

Watched "Women, Weddings, War and Me" as This Week was not on.

It was about a young afghani female, who does not see herself as British and went to Kabul in search of a muslim man.

All she found was a suppressive islamic culture, girls too scared to go to school for fear of being killed, honour beatings, false imprisonments and men who prefer their women fully burka'd up, to help resist those 'urges' men get..never heard of self discipline, obviously. This is from NON TALIBAN MEN..LOL

However the tragedy was that she had only found the freedom she wanted in GB but no mention is made by her or the BBC Team that it is our Christian Culture and Heritage that gives her these freedoms not Islamic culture.

As if this country is somehow separated from several hundred years of christian heritage and it all happened by some social, evolutionary chance (dream on, secularists).

After watching this documentary you would understand why Islam is unable to integrate into any other culture other than it's own.

Ernsty

Ps

Non Mouse & Not a Machine..Ernst agrees completely with what you have both said!

17 April 2011 at 19:43  
Anonymous IanCad said...

While being mindful of our Lord's sacrifice as the Passover Lamb I have to say that the root of our Easter celebration (Rememberance?) is of entirely pagan stock.The abomination of Sun worship has co-opted Christ and has placed him as an accessory on the altars of Baal.
Easter was not celebrated in the early church; neither was Christmas. Both of these memorials were used to bring the pagans into the Church of Rome. The only new ordinance, apart from his teachings, commanded by Jesus in the New Testament was the Eucharist which seems to have been later celebrated on the Sabbath (Saturday) until, that too, was corrupted.

17 April 2011 at 20:11  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Admiral: "Not two different groups of people? Galilean pilgrims camped outside the walls welcoming "their boy"; then Jerusalemites out to kill a threat to their religious tourist industry?"

It's a curious story of occupying Rome offering a prisoner up to the people for freedom versus crucifixion, especially given the choice was between Jesus of Nazareth, Son of his Father and a pacifist of sorts, and Jesus Barabbas i.e. bar-Abbas meaning Son of the Father, and a revolutionary. It might be a simple interpretation but that smacks very much of a literary device there to make a significant point.

17 April 2011 at 20:44  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Four are the levels of speech. Three concealed in mystery cannot be manipulated. The wise who have knowledge know all of these, common men speak only with the fourth-Rig Veda 1.164.39

2 Timothy 2:15-Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

"What is truth?" asked Pilate

To everything there is a season, fertility cults are fully concordant with the Bible if the truth therein be rightly divided.

17 April 2011 at 21:06  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

I believe the issue in the Colin Atkinson case is that his company’s diversity officer said a female Muslim employee would be allowed to wear a burqa but she drew the line at Mr Atkinson’s cross.

17 April 2011 at 23:12  
Anonymous Cheap Watch said...

A genius of higher criticism surmised hilariously 17 April 2011 20:44

"It's a curious story of occupying Rome offering a prisoner up to the people for freedom versus crucifixion, especially given the choice was between Jesus of Nazareth, Son of his Father and a pacifist of sorts, and Jesus Barabbas i.e. bar-Abbas meaning Son of the Father, and a revolutionary. It might be a simple interpretation (Just a tad, Village Idiot, are you leaning on a field post, with a length of hay out of the side of your mouth?) but that smacks very much of a literary device there to make a significant point (You CSI genius you..move over Sherlock, there's a new kid on the block!)."

You are reading Juan Sheet in action on this blog. Lets help him get 50p off his next batch of rolls... http://www.plenty.co.uk/coupons.aspx..One sheet does plenty..*giggle* Hope that helps?

Tommy Timex

18 April 2011 at 02:08  
Anonymous Dick the prick said...

Amen

18 April 2011 at 06:10  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Clapper on bell.

Making those two versions available for listening, with no comment but the title "Hosanna in excelsis! Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini" and the selection note is a reminder of the eloquence of both music and silence.

Sometimes the best part of a musical event: the expectant hush of the audience or the final hush.

[After time for reflection, and also noting:
"This year, the calendar of Orthodox Christians coincides with that of Protestants and Roman Catholics, meaning that the sects are marking Holy Week together." mentioned in AP report "Christians Mark Palm Sunday in Jerusalem (April 17, 2011) http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/04/17/christians-mark-palm-sunday-jerusalem-486790424/

and
http://muxlim.com/videos/AssociatedPress/raw-video-christians-mark-palm-sunday/]

18 April 2011 at 10:02  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Part 1 of 2

Your Grace

This needs to be tempered:

‘… former soldier Colin Atkinson has been told by his employer that he may not display a palm cross in his company van (which is not his property, and His Grace cannot for the life of him work out what the issue is here: the van belongs irrefutably to Caesar)’.

It’s as if you are attempting to encourage a scared-secular divide where one has not existed.

That is dangerous for Christians. Every move against our glorious faith by Caesar needs to be contested. Every concession weakens us.

For a thousand years this country has not recognised a sacred-secular division. For example, the Christian John Reith Director General of the BBC found no such distinction:

‘To Almighty God, this shrine of the arts, music and literature is dedicated by the first Governors in the year of our Lord 1931, John Reith being Director General. It is their prayer that good seed sown will produce a good harvest, that everything offensive to decency and hostile to peace will be expelled, and that the nation will incline its ear to those things which are lovely pure and of good report and thus pursue the path of wisdom and virtue’.

Inscription inside Broadcasting House, home of the BBC

One of the issues in the Atkinson case is not whether the van belongs to Caesar – it clearly does – but whether, over the years, Caesar has by permitting the display of the Palm Cross implied it into Mr Atkinson’s employment contract – as a contractual ‘right’ to display the Cross. That is, because the practice has been ‘approved’ of over the years Mr Atkinson has exercised it as a ‘legitimate expectation’ to do so?

Employers permit their staff to display a photograph of their families upon their desks. Clearly, their desks belong to Caesar.

What happens when under s.26 Equality Act 2010 (harassment) an employer instructs an employee to remove such photographs as they project and reinforce the heterosexual norm and this is perceived (s.26(4)(a)) as violating the institution of the civil partnership or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading humiliating or offensive environment (s.26(1)(b))?

After all, no State organ today permits the Playboy calendar to be displayed.

Unless it is recognised that there is a higher law that the State must be in accord with – to which men can appeal – the State becomes arbitrary and oppressive in its

18 April 2011 at 10:12  
Blogger D. Singh said...

actions. Such a higher law has been recognised since Magna Carta; appealed to by Lord Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke and stated again by the great Christian judge

Part 2

Lord Denning in Gouriet v the Union of Post Office Workers [1977] 1 All ER 696 stated ‘be you never so high the law is above you’.

To reject this higher law means to slide into humanistic (not to be confused with humanitarianism) tyranny. It is humanism, in all its guises (whether Communism or Nazism) which our forefathers have fought against for centuries (World War II and the Cold War).

To reject Judaeo-Christianity does not mean that the State will become neutral: secularism is itself an ideology which the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the Italian Crucifixion case rejected – because Italy like Great Britain has a culture based upon Christianity.

‘Look at that passage in Matthew 22, 17-22 where there is an exchange between the Pharisees, the Herodians and Christ: ‘Tell us therefore what do you think. Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness and said “Why do you tempt me, you hypocrites?”.

‘“Show me the tribute money” and they brought to him a denarius. And he said to them “Whose is this image and superscription” and they replied “Caesar’s”. Then he said to them “Render therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”.’

‘In Christ’s day, government was occupied with only a relatively few things. In Judea, the Roman administration dealt with peacekeeping, compliance with imperial laws and certain forms of taxation whereas the Jewish authorities operating through the local kings and the temple authorities dealt with Jewish law and religious practice.
The difference between state administration then and now could not be more marked. The Welfare State has brought Caesar into education, health and social policy. Caesar is not limited to defence or the administration of justice but is involved in every facet of our lives. The question is: How do we identify precisely what is Caesar’s so that Caesar can get his due?’

Michael Clancy, O.B.E. – 'Give to Caesar what Really Belongs to Caesar'
Seminar held in Glasgow, Thursday 4 October 2007

18 April 2011 at 10:13  
Anonymous MrJ said...

PS to 18 April 10:02. Another error, should have been on "Hosanna..." Sunday, April 17. But no need to repeat it there. Here may do as well.

18 April 2011 at 10:41  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Mr.Singh @10:13 :

An interesting post giving much food for thought, thank you.

18 April 2011 at 11:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace: "Let Caesar collect his taxes and make his laws: it is for Christians to cleanse our temple and devote ourselves lavishly to the Lord, and then may be found peace, joy and happiness."

Ummm - but that cleansing... remembering that our money has on it no image of Caesar (yet), and Caesar's law is not God's - and noting the scourge in the following:

And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew./And to them that sold doves, he said "Take these things hence, and make not the house of my father a house of traffic." (Jn 1: 15-16. Douay-Rheims).

In that light, we may see the House of Our Father as this prison of flesh, but may the house not also represent our Church, and our Homeland? For the 'powers' in Britain have joined in allegiance to the One Almighty God since the time of Alfred the Great (at least).

Further, Christ did not join the moneychangers in dancing in the Temple. Indeed, he acted strongly against them. So if the song here refers to "Son"shine, Amen to that tradition. If it does not ... well, the more I know, the more I know I don't know.

But I am constrained to consider the possibility that Christ exemplified for us another imperative: that of having the courage of our convictions about God. He modeled the courage to die for them if necessary. For Caesar understands only the fear of mortality ... Only God has Power to resurrect and redeem us.

18 April 2011 at 16:18  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Sorry - that's not Anonymous at 16:18 ... Non Mouse hit the wrong key :)

18 April 2011 at 16:20  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Non Mouse said 18 April 2011 16:18 18 April 2011 16:20

..and the people all shouted AMEN.

Ernst.

18 April 2011 at 16:25  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"The question is: How do we identify precisely what is Caesar’s so that Caesar can get his due?"

Are you a Caesarean birth or natural born, your date of birth is based on the Roman Calander.

18 April 2011 at 17:46  

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