As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning:
Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the waving of palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem. My Nailsea church has its birthday on Palm Sunday. Founded on that day in 1989 we always count the festival as our anniversary. Last Sunday we were 27.
We had baptisms and a party. It was a good day.
The week we are in now, in most western Christian churches, is known as Holy Week. It includes three special days:
On Maundy Thursday we recall Jesus' last supper with his disciples.
On Good Friday we mark his death. Hot cross buns don't capture the severity.
On Easter Sunday we have surprising and exciting news to ponder. Almost unbelievable. Chocolate eggs fall a little short of the level of celebration required.
But real events are no respecters of festivals. So people die on happy days and are born on sad ones. Yesterday as ministers, myself included, prepared material to tell the story of victory over death, some people who got up early to catch planes or trains ended their lives in waiting areas. Hard to call that a good Tuesday.
The humdrum of our lives is full of good and bad. No disabled access. Bad. Great actor visits Bristol. Good. Animal cruelty on the increase. Bad. School students multiply £10 many-fold. Good.
This week Christians celebrate the remarkable triumph of good over evil. The bad things which happened to Jesus the preacher are not the end of his story.
Evil, however horrible it is to those who suffer, will not have the last word. For we recite the tale of one man who suffered and we ask:
Didn't he used to be dead?