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'Let us rejoice': Christians celebrate Palm Sunday

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Congregations from Christian churches in downtown Columbia convened at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater on Sunday for the annual Blessing of the Palms.

Palm Sunday is a celebration of the day that, according to biblical teaching, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey in the week preceding his crucifixion and resurrection.

The service lasted about half an hour and consisted of songs, scripture readings and blessings by various religious leaders from St. Andrew's Lutheran, Broadway Christian, Calvary Episcopal, First Baptist, First Christian, Missouri United Methodist and First Presbyterian churches.

A women, left, reaches to accept a palm frond from a man

A women, left, reaches to accept a palm frond from a man carrying a bag of fronds Sunday at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater in Columbia. Pastors from eight churches blessed the fronds at the event held for Palm Sunday.

We come to prepare for the holiest of weeks.

We will journey through praise, with joy on our lips;

we will travel through betrayal, suffering, and death,

cradling hope deep in our hearts.

— Litany of Praise and Lament

The sun rises across the Boone County Courthouse amphitheater

The sun rises over the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater as pastors and members of their congregations gather Sunday morning. Attendance was limited at the event to curb the spread of COVID-19. Usually held on Broadway, it was canceled last year.

This holy day people of many faiths come together,

And we join together in once voice,

Praise to the living God, Hope for the world's redemption,

Unity of the spirits in the bond of peace.

— Palm Sunday Litany

Members of the Second Missionary Baptist Church wave their palm fronds

Members of the Second Missionary Baptist Church wave their palm fronds Sunday at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater in Columbia. After the service, the palms will be burned to be used as ashes on Ash Wednesday next year.

Let those branches be for us signs of his victory.

Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest!

— Blessing of the Palms

The Rev. Brad Stagg, center, waves his palm frond in the air

The Rev. Brad Stagg, center, waves his palm frond during the Blessing of the Palms Service on Sunday at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater in Columbia. Stagg, who opened the service, leads First Christian Church in central Columbia.

Setting aside all power, glory, and might, he comes;

Modeling humility and obedience for all of us.

— Litany of Praise and Lament

The Rev. Marvin Lindsay of the First Presbyterian Church

LEFT: The Rev. Marvin Lindsay of First Presbyterian Church delivers a pastoral prayer Sunday at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater. Lindsay has been the senior pastor at First Presbyterian for nearly five years. RIGHT: The Rev. Carol McEntyre hugs her daughter, Marin, 6, after the Blessing of the Palms service Sunday at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater in Columbia. "This service has been going on for decades," McEntyre said. "I'm happy we got some nicer weather today."

This day he entered the holy city Jerusalem and was

proclaimed King by those who spread their garments and

palm branches along his way.

—Blessing of the Palms

Darlene Miles, right, and Jake Miles, left, brought their own fronds

Jake Miles, left, and Darlene Miles brought their own fronds for the Blessing of the Palms service Sunday at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater in Columbia. The couple, who posed for a portrait Sunday, arrived early to the event.

This is the opening day of the great drama,

Faith over fear, Hope over despair,

Life over death, Good over evil.

— Palm Sunday Litany

Members of the Second Missionary Baptist Church raise their palm fronds

Members of the Second Missionary Baptist Church raise their palm fronds Sunday at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater in Columbia.

Let the people raise their palm branches high!

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

— Blessing of the Palms


Photographs by Owen Ziliak. Produced by Jacob Moscovitch. Excerpts from the prayers recited during the service were provided by churches.

  • Reporter at the Columbia Missourian. (He/Him). Reach me jacobmoscovitch@mail.missouri.edu.

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