“Who is this?” Palm Sunday still asks the question of a city
The autumn sun shone, the harbour sparkled but all eyes were focused on a large and somewhat different and culturally diverse crowd as it moved along the Circular Quay foreshore in Sydney yesterday.
Waving palm fronds and singing praises in chorus, Wesley Mission congregation members, supporters, volunteers and staff made known the name of Jesus Christ to curious tourists and family groups, who were quietly asking about the significance of the event.
Visitors and diners may have come to Sydney’s Circular Quay to savour food and the superb autumn weather but it was Wesley Mission’s re-enactment of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday that had thousands of harbour-side patrons downing their forks and grabbing their cameras.
Dressed in impressive period costume, Jesus, played by 25 year-old drama student Brendan Paul (pictured below), led the procession around the Circular Quay foreshore followed by hundreds of palm-waving followers who praised their King of Kings in song and music as they weaved their way through lively lunch-time crowds.
Samoan harmonies joined with African voices in praise as ‘This the day that the Lord has made’ and ‘Sing Hosanna’ resonated among the large crowds and into the hearts of many.
Wesley Mission Superintendent the Rev Keith Garner said the Palm Sunday event was a significant and important public witness to the people of Sydney.
“When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday the whole city was in uproar and people asked, ‘Who is this?’,” Mr Garner said. “The question remains vital for us today. Many people were asking the same question at Circular Quay. We thank God that we are able to witness to the truth that this was and is the Saviour of the world, who makes the broken new and offers hope to all.”
After proceeding along the eastern foreshore of Circular Quay, the large crowd gathered to sing more songs of praise and heard words of encouragement from Pastor Andy Chin.
The occasion began a week of powerful Easter events, re-enactments and more than 25 worship services at Wesley Mission.
Other major public events include:
Good Friday drama and procession through Sydney, CBD: Friday 14 April at 1.30 pm
Beginning at Martin Place in the heart of the CBD, watch the trial of Jesus as he is sentenced to death and then join the large crowds who follow him as he carries his cross through the city streets to the Wesley Centre, 220 Pitt Street, Sydney.
Easter Sunday Sunrise Service, Sunday 16 April Sydney Opera House
As the sun rises on Easter Day, songs of praise from the iconic Sydney Opera House will echo across Sydney Harbour. Hundreds of people from all walks of life will join together to celebrate the power of Jesus’ resurrection. The service will be led by Wesley Mission Superintendent the Rev Keith Garner. He will be joined by Golden Guitar Winning Australian artists, Carter and Carter, other special contributions and the Wesley Mission band.