As we negotiated bin lorries and caused consternation amongst the Cambridge visitors, the congregation of Great St Mary’s steadily made its way around the market square. Blessed with blue sky and sunshine and with a constant proclamation of “all glory laud and honour”, on this Palm Sunday, we processed around the parish. When outside the Guildhall, a piece of pavement that experiences the full diversity of politics and protest, the gospel was proclaimed to all in a hearty voice by our curate.
I was touched to be told later that one of the traders had been pleased that we had walked around the whole of the market and I look forward to continuing to deepen that relationship with our market through chaplaincy.
It is believed that whilst Jesus was entering Jerusalem riding on a young donkey, a very different kind of leader of Pontius Pilate was on the other side of the city, also entering Jerusalem with all the pomp and pageantry of a Roman governor. Perhaps it is my own love of theatre that has always made this day in the church’s calendar particularly appealing and I am always moved that we are invited as congregation to join the voices of an ancient crowd in both welcoming the Messiah with praise and then demanding his execution.
The changing dynamic of the crowd seems to me to have an even deeper resonance this year as a British Citizen. I cannot help but see a parallel between the fractured and volatile politics of first century Jerusalem under Roman occupation with the hostility, division and volatility of Britain, post EU Referendum.
On Sunday as we played out the Passion narrative, I found myself reflecting on how quickly the ‘Hallelujahs and Hosannas’ of the London Olympics had turned to the ‘crucify’ of Brexit.
In a sense I am less concerned with the machinations of the EU debate as to where this has come from and what it says about a nation’s sense of self. I can see no greater time, than now for the need of the humility of leadership that goes beyond the breast plates and spears of rule to the gentle strength of a servant King.