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I don’t like crowds. Never have. Don’t like big cities. I avoid walking in crowded town centres. London is anathema for me. Never been comfortable at a football match and the idea of joining a demo horrifies me. I quite like doing nothing for a day watching cricket (it’s not really a crowd, is it—sitting half asleep in the rain waiting for play to resume) but on the whole I enjoy wandering lonely as a cloud than walking with a crowd. I’m supremely happy walking solo to the top of Helvellyn or Blencathra. But when I come down the mountain, like everyone I’m a person who needs people. According to Barbara Streisand that makes me lucky. We need each other and so we mingle in groups. Groups are alright but when they become a crowd, things can quickly get ugly.

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The last week of the Saviour’s mortal life was astonishing. He was welcomed to the city as a king, a deliverer, by a “very great multitude” laying palm leaves before him, shouting “Hosannah”. Just a few days later, he was condemned to death by a crowd shouting “Crucify Him”. Was it the same people: fickle, changing sides, or rent-a-crowd manipulation by politicians? Perhaps a mixture.

I wonder where I would have been when he was standing next to Pilate. Who was in the courtyard then—thugs hired by the Sanhedrin with clubs and knives? Would I have been brave enough to shout for his release with a deadly threat from the bloke behind me? Why did support melt away in just a few days? Was there a 33AD equivalent of a social media campaign? Did some Christians feel the way the wind was shifting and duck out, thinking that surely the Son of God could look after himself?

I particularly wonder about me because it’s happening again. Right now, every day, all around us. I read an interesting piece in yesterday’s Telegraph. The heading was “It’s Easier to Confess You’re an Alcoholic than a Christian”. I touched on the need to speak out in my last post, but in the context of Holy Week it becomes especially significant. President Nelson released a Palm Sunday Message today by video, not just for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but for the whole world. You can watch the engaging five-minute message here:

During the week leading up to Easter, he asks the world to “make this coming week truly holy by remembering — not just the palms that were waved to honor the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem — but by remembering the palms of His hands.” In Isaiah 49:16 of the Old Testament are the words, “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” — a promise, President Nelson says, that “[Christ] will never forget you.” He also invites people to “do something this week to follow [Jesus Christ’s] teachings. You might make your prayers more earnest. You could forgive someone or help a friend in need. You can start today on a new spiritual quest.”

For those not of our faith who read this blog, who may not be Christian or maybe have no faith at all, if you want to know why the Easter story is so important, to us, President Nelson’s message will help to explain it. You can also join many millions of us on Easter Sunday, when the virtual worldwide general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be filled with Christ-centred messages and music. Here’s how to join us:

I hope your Palm Sunday today was Christ centred, that your Church services today focused on our Saviour, especially the events starting that last week. Perhaps, unlike some of the original crowd we can continue waving our palm branches all week, right through to Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter everyone!


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