An educational sign in the new Red Garden of our wonderful National Botanic Gardens tells us they are not sure if palms growing in remote corners of the Kimberley, like those depicted here, were native to Australia or imported with aboriginal people many thousands of years ago. Apparently there’s ‘some debate’ about it.
In any event, despite their various forms the particular shape of the palm frond is well known to many peoples; they grow here and there all over the world including around the Med and the scene of the entry into Jerusalem.
A palm psalm?
On both Palm Sunday and on Easter Sunday we are invited to hear Psalm 118, substantially the same readings except for a few verses.
There’s a lot to this psalm so it’s nice to visit and revisit on successive Sundays. Many phrases are familiar, bringing to mind songs that have featured them:
- steadfast love
- open the gates
- the cornerstone
- this is the day
- one who comes in the name
- you are my God, I will praise
Any tunes in your head?
The LORD is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. (v. 27)
[Ray, where did we put those horns?]
Recognising the continuity, we call both times upon an old favourite tune suggested in Psalms for all seasons; ‘This is the day‘. It’s quite repetitive, not a bad thing of course. It also suggests a possible antiphonal approach, one group serving a phrase (con brio of course) and another group volleying it back. All in all an enjoyable sing.
It is only a visit, though. Closer examination reveals that the three verses of this nice little Fijian song draw only on a few phrases from verses 19, 24 and 28 of the psalm – and 28 does not even make it into the Easter Sunday selection.
Never fear, further verses and another great song will follow on Easter Sunday. In fact, a Tim Tam at tea to the correct winner of the following multi-guess quiz. Which phrase will be the basis of the additional psalm song for Easter Sunday? (Select from the pull-down list)
So much music, so few psalms;
one repeated never harms,
charming balms calm all alarms.
Don’t forget to bring some palms.
Yes, well, nice try.
Do I get any points for 7/7/7/7?