Summary: The events of Holy Week and Easter were no accident.

Intro – The triumphal entry

Jesus comes into town, riding on the back of donkey. There are two distinct groups who make his presence felt. There are the Northerners who have travelled with Jesus. The Galileans, including his disciples, with their provincial accents. This group have had exposure to so many things, including trade, other cultures, agriculture and (above all) the teachings and the power of Jesus ministry. This group are travelling with Jesus in annual pilgrimage at Jerusalem to the Passover. It’s this group, Jesus’ greatest fans, who are making all the noise in this procession. Later in the week, this group will be in deep shock and mourning when it all goes pear-shaped.

The second group are the rest of them. These are residents of Jerusalem and visitors to who have had little contact with Jesus. They turn out to see what all the fuss is about. Later in the week, it is mainly this group who will turn against him.

Mark captures this wonderful event happening in the afternoon of the Sunday before the Passover. He doesn’t particularly emphasise the triumphal side of it all, rather he writes of the quiet determination of Jesus’ approach that day. He writes this…

{11} Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Getting ready.

I am going to a wedding in a couple of weeks. Not just any wedding, but my son’s marriage to his fiancé Alison. It’s happening a long way from here, in the small country town of Dookie in Victoria. It’s been coming for a while now. Sam and Alison met at Uni in Wagga when they were both students there and they became good friends, then fell in love. The rest is history – which is still being written. When they were engaged there were all sorts of arrangements to be made. They had to find a minister (tick), then they had to get a church building. Alison’s home church at Dookie was too small for all the people they wanted to have there, so they looked at alternatives in Shepparton and Benalla, then decided on the Dookie church hall.

So many things have to come together for a wedding. Just ask the Kells or the Morrisons (they have just been through it). And it all has to happen with an understanding of “place”.

I had a conversation with Sam and Alison in planning the service which had to suss out the geography of what I expect to see when I get there. I tried to imagine the size and layout of the hall. What the aisles might look like; how much light there was; whether the band could fit; and whether there would be a projector.

Even though I had heard from them about these things, I know I will value the Thursday down there ahead of it, as I watch people move pews into the hall and work through the setup at the rehearsal, just to see how it is going to go together.

Richard Hanna is going to take photos at the wedding. Recently he had to go down past there on a business trip, and he stopped at Dookie – and spent some time there checking it out. A photographer has to think about space, and light. What will be needed and what won’t. What access is there and alternatives for what he might guide them to do, and where to take photos. You can hear about all this stuff over the phone, you can even check out snaps of how it looks. But, when it comes to planning ahead of the action, there is nothing like being there. Being there to see and to plan and to think in special terms.

• School teacher. On the first day in a brand new school. What do you do?

• Trainer. Going to a new place, about to speak to a whole different group of people. What is the routine you go through?

• Other occupations.

Something struck me from the reading for this Sunday which I had never seen before. It was the line which Mark uses AFTER all the Hosannas had been shouted and sung…

Jesus rode through the great city up the temple mount, with the crowds singing the Psalms of Ascent, with snatches from them that we shared this morning – and then gets to the temple. Then you read…

{11} Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

How odd. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

All that energy, all that momentum building up. Jesus with the crowd shouting praise, singing psalms, making an entry. And what does he do? He gets off his donkey, looks around at everything. Then goes back out to Bethany again.

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