Religion of Monday, 14 April 2014
Christians in Ghana on Sunday joined others around the world to mark Palm Sunday with church services and street marches. The celebration was to commemorate the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, a week before his death and resurrection.
Within the Accra metropolis, a lot of Christians were spotted holding palm fronds woven in the form of a cross and other shapes.
Some of the celebrants had palm fronds decorated with flowers and some church premises were also decorated with palm branches.
Other churches also organised street marches which saw their members parading the street with palm branches.
Waving palm branches
Dancing and singing amid drumming provided by a brass band, congregants, including children, women and men, waved their palm branches as they jubilated in a procession.
At Awoshie in Accra, members of the Children’s Ministry of the Victory Bible Church International took part in a two-hour march from the Odorgonnor Senior High School to the church premises celebrating the coming of Jesus Christ.
They displayed a banner which read “Hosanna!!! Celebrating our soon coming king, Jesus is our victory,” and sang tunes played by a band that followed the procession and waved palm fronds joyfully.
One of the leaders of the Children’s Ministry, Mr Nicholson Otu-Awuku, told the Daily Graphic that the march was an annual custom performed by the church to teach the children and alert the public of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
“We know Jesus is in heaven but we want to remind ourselves that He will be coming again for the righteous. So, though His entry to Jerusalem was to begin His journey to the cross to die for our sins, now we mark it in expectation of His coming to the earth again.”
A member of the Calvary Methodist Church at Asylum Down in Accra, Matilda Benson, said the Palm Sunday started a very important week.
She explained that it was the beginning of Easter “when we celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour”.
At the Oduman branch of the Church of Pentecost in?Accra, there was no display of palm fronds.
A guest speaker from the Kaneshie Assembly of the Church of Pentecost, Elder Collins Antwi, gave a sermon titled, “the dry bones will bear fruits,” based on Ezekiel 37:1 - 4.
He told the congregation that they had to walk with the Lord, since He had the ability to make the impossible possible in their lives.
Reading from Jeremiah 29:1, Elder Antwi concluded his sermon by saying, “the Lord knows the plans He has for you. They are plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
At 7 a.m. Mass at the Holy Spirit Cathedral, Adabraka, Very Rev. Fr. John Louis said while people would wave their national flags if a team won a tournament, the Jews of the Bible times would wave palm fronds to celebrate their victories, reports Rebecca Kwei.
He likened the palm branch to a victory flag and called on Christians to always wave their victory flags wherever they found themselves, since "the victory of Jesus for our salvation is an everlasting victory".
Palm Sunday is a Christian customary day used to remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem a week before his death as He was welcomed by jubilant masses. On that day the ecstatic people took off their cloths and threw them to the ground, cut down palm branches and waved them as they sang “Hosanna, Christ has come”.
Palm Sunday precedes Maundy Thursday which signifies when the Last Supper by Jesus and his disciples took place; Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified, and then Easter Sunday, when Jesus resurrected.
In Catholic churches, the palm leaves used to cheer Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem is burnt into ashes and used to mark Ash Wednesday the following year.