Today’s reflection is from James Pender, Programmes and Advocacy Officer at The Leprosy Mission England & Wales.
Today is when we remember Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem at the start of Holy week, when the crowd were shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
In Matthew chapter 21:1-11 we read that Jesus came riding on a donkey and that people waved branches from trees to celebrate Jesus’ coming, for which we name the day ‘Palm Sunday’. In Psalm 96, King David, an ancestor of Christ himself, calls the whole earth to rejoice and again in 1 Chronicles 16 after another triumphal procession to Jerusalem carrying the Ark of the Covenant.
Psalm 96 declared that the trees, fields and all Creation should praise the Lord or ‘the trees of the field shall clap their hands’ as the old chorus goes, ‘for the Lord comes’. On Palm Sunday the Lord did indeed come physically into Jerusalem and branches from the trees were giving praise as people waved them and a young donkey that had never been broken-in worshipfully submitted to Jesus its Creator riding on its back.
In Colossians 1 it talks about Christ creating all things and then reconciling all things to himself through his death on the cross, while Romans 8 talks about all Creation (humans and nature) suffering, groaning and yearning to be set free. So, it is fitting that through the donkey, the palm branches and the people waving them, the desire for all Creation’s redemption was represented as Jesus entered Jerusalem to die for ‘the whole cosmos’.
In Mozambique through our Feet First appeal we raised funds that are being used to bring new life to people and the fields they farm. Fields that are suffering through drought, climate change and environmental degradation. ‘Farming God’s Way’ encourages environmentally sustainable farming using organic techniques such as mulching, composting, crop spacing, weeding, thinning, and legumes, alongside Biblical teaching on good stewardship and creation care. As a result, the Kingdom of God that Christ birthed at the First Easter, is being expanded to transform the lives of people affected by leprosy and their communities in the north of Mozambique. For as a result of better care of their fields and ensuring the goodness of the soils are replenished, farmers are having larger harvests and feeding their families. For All Creation it is a time for rejoicing instead of groaning!