Inspiration for Palm Sunday Marches has a long tradition of drawing on the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the eve of his Passion. Like a king of ancient times, he rides through the city gates, not as a conquering despot, but as a focus for the kind of peace the Bible calls shalom – complete integrity for all of creation expressed in whole relationships, especially in terms of justice and righteousness. Today’s text, Matthew 21:1-11, gives one rendition.
Marcus Borg draws attention to two triumphal entries into Jerusalem that day. One by Roman governor Pontius Pilate, representing the power and military might of empire to keep order and maintain the status quo – the other by Jesus, ushering the dawn of a new era heralding justice and peace. What these two triumphal entries represent is the continuing tension between the push to maintain the comfort of order and equilibrium, no matter how unjust, and the pull towards transformation towards comprehensive healing, integrity and wholeness.
Jesus’triumphal entry into Jerusalem thus becomes a powerful focus and icon for many who will march this Sunday.