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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, April 4, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

Ride on! ride on in majesty!
Hark! all the tribes hosanna cry;
thy humble beast pursues its road
with palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on! ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
O Christ, thy triumphs now begin
o’er captive death and conquered sin.

“Ride On! Ride On in Majesty!” (vv. 1–2) by Henry Hart Milman
Hymn 198, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Today’s hymn announces the arrival of Jesus on his meek donkey—a symbol of peace—but with fervor and triumph on this day before we celebrate Palm Sunday. This day of preparation is joyous, meaningful beyond measure, as the crowds prepare for the Lord’s ultimate sacrifice. 

The arrival of Jesus on Palm Sunday fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah, noting the Lord would ride in on a donkey, released by the disciples because the Lord had need of it.

This made me think of our anticipation of Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week, with our rejoicing in the arrival of Jesus. We look to him for peace and sacrifice as we enter one of the most transformational times of our liturgical calendar.

However, just as Jesus fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy of needing the young colt, we must consider, what does Jesus need from us in return as we welcome Palm Sunday? Does he require our love, our prayer, our community with one another despite our differences? What do we have to offer in return for Jesus’ arrival? We might often limit our “gifts” this day to the pomp and circumstance of the tradition, but how else are we preparing our hearts and spirits for what’s to come during Holy Week?

As we transition between the Lenten season of preparation into Holy Week and Easter, let us not forget that Jesus requires much more of us than we might be comfortable with or ready for, but we are on this journey together as disciples. And just as the disciples made way for Jesus to travel on a humble donkey, we must humble our hearts and minds to be open to this journey.

O Lord of peace and sacrifice, let us always celebrate your arrival, but remind us to ready our hands, hearts, and minds so we may host a celebration of love and faith suitable for your presence and grace. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens Harris, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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