A tenacious love that reaches the heart of the city: Palm Sunday in Sydney
Thousands of Quay-side diners, tourists and onlookers witnessed an extraordinary event yesterday in Sydney when Wesley Mission re-enacted Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to begin Holy Week and the key events of Easter.
Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday in recognition of the beginning of Holy Week and Jesus’ final journey to the cross and His crucifixion. It remains one of the most important days on the Christian calendar.
Hundreds joined the procession led by Tongan and Samoan choirs dressed in cultural costume. The harmonies of hymns and choruses echoed through the Quay colonnades. Children and parents gladly accepted palm fronds and began waving them as Jesus dressed in period costume made his way through the crowd.
As the harbour sparkled and ferries moved wearily from the wharves, onlookers began asking participants about the significance of the event. “It’s about Jesus,” said one Wesley Mission congregation member. “But why out here?” shouted a diner dropping a fork, choosing resolution over chicken.
“Jesus entered Jerusalem not on the back of a thoroughbred horse, but a donkey,” said Wesley Mission CEO the Rev Keith Garner.
“Those who welcomed him did so not with military or political fanfare but with palm branches. He came not with the extravagance of a world leader or popular celebrity but with humility and grace, knowing that his entry was part of a bigger journey that would eventually lead him to the cross.”
After walking along the eastern Quay foreshore participants gathered together for impromptu praise led by the Tongan, Samoan and Chinese congregation choirs. It was a joyous group of worshippers whose praise and singing embraced hundreds and turned eyes and ears to the King of Kings.
“Whether its homeless people sleeping on the street or someone working on the 30th floor of a city tower, people are yearning for something more,” Wesley Mission’s Senior Minister the Rev Rick Dacey told the crowd. “We may even see within us an emptiness. But that’s what Palm Sunday is about.
“God sees a wonderful world but God also sees the pain, the brokenness, shame and guilt. He sees fear and hate but he responds with love. Jesus has given himself for us and that is why we celebrate and have this joy – the joy is for everybody. God’s love is tenacious; God’s love will not give up on us.”
The occasion began the week of powerful Easter events, re-enactments and more than 25 worship services at Wesley Mission.