Christians have been celebrating Palm Sunday right from the fourth century. Palms are blessed and the young and old excitedly cling on to them, wave them in the air, and find special places in their homes for them. After three long years, District Apostle Helper David Devaraj visited Ghugus, and there were lots of exciting meetings and events planned.
It was a long road journey for Apostle David and Brother Robert Maier, the congregation waited in eager anticipation for their two special guests. They were thrilled that they were getting to spend the beginning of Passion Week with them.
First on Apostle David’s agenda was to meet with all the ministers and brothers in the area. Since a few of the ministers were retiring from ministry, he gave them a special commendation for their faithfulness in serving God. He spoke in detail about the work of the Apostles work, the priests and the members. There was a sigh of disappointment when the session got over.
Making a Joyful Noise
Next morning, the Ghugus congregation got ready for the celebration of Palm Sunday and the festive Divine Service. There were many surprises waiting for Apostle David as he made his way to the church. The welcoming committee stood ready with their dhols (drums) as soon as Apostle David entered the church premises, he was greeted with the lively Maharashtrian folk dance, Lezzim. It was a rich performance that everyone enjoyed. The Sunday school children presented Apostle David with flowers, and when he stepped into the church, the choir started singing hymns.
After an uplifting time of praise and worship, the Divine service began and the new altar was inaugurated. Apostle David based his message on Mark 11:17, Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ Apostle David cautioned the congregation to not turn the church into a den of thieves, a place where they would come to hide their sins. Likewise, the church should not be made into a place of business where people offered of themselves and then waited for their deeds to be acknowledged and returned.
After Apostle David concluded his message, two call ups followed – Priest Samson from Hyderabad shared about inner thoughts and maintaining purity in each one’s heart and the Lord’s house. Then, Bishop Vijay Kumar spoke briefly about the overall plan for Salvation.
Celebrating Special Sacraments
The whole congregation felt blessed when they witnessed the Holy Sealing of 100 men, women, and children; from being children birthed from humans they were ready to make the transition of becoming children of God. These special moments were followed by the celebration of Holy Communion. The Divine Service concluded with the hymn: “Hosanna, blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord”.
Let the Fun Begin
Everyone proceeded to the church grounds where exciting games and programmes were planned for Apostle David. It was a time a singing, dancing and laughter followed by a delicious lunch. Apostle David joined in all the festivities and spent time talking to everyone.
For the Ghugus congregation it was one Palm Sunday that they would never forget – after so many rich and powerful messages shared, their hearts were ready to celebrate Passion Week.