Until recent years the name Palm Sunday was a relic of a pre-reformation
ceremony in the Anglican liturgy. In order to discourage the superstitions
that had tended to grow up around these ceremonies in the Middle Ages,
the reformers abolished the procession with palms (along with other ceremonies)
customary on this Sunday.
Fortunately this innocent ceremony has now been able to be brought back
in many parishes. It no longer encourages superstitions at the expense
of the main devotion of the day (the solemn proclamation of the Passion),
and it provides Anglicans with a way of commemorating the main historical
event of the day (our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem).
Moreover, the story of our Lord's entry into Jerusalem (read at the
blessing of the palms - Matt. 21:1-11) shares a common theme with the Passion:
the theme of Jesus as the Son of David, the King of the Jews. This
really is the theme of all Holy Week, how Jesus did not turn out to be
the king that the people expected --a warrior king driving out the Roman
oppressors -- but the king of love, crowned with suffering and reigning
from the Cross. For it was through humility and obedience unto death
that our Lord was glorified (Phil. 2:8, 9; compare John 13:31). He
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a
ransom for many' (Matt. 20:28).
Therefore today we remember the example of our Lord's great humility,
a quality which has been called the great ornament and jewel of Christian
religion' (Taylor). Fearing God, it casts out pride, and controls
our desire to overreach ourselves in seeking things beyond our power and
understanding. It values our abilities and activities justly, and
subjects our souls to the will of God, opening them up for his gracious
work. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble' (James
So let us pray that we may both follow the example of his patience,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection'.