PictureLent ~ Return

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Matthew 21:12-17

This Sunday we begin the final part of our pilgrimage to Golgotha. We celebrate Palm Sunday – a day that rings loud with shouts of Hosanna, a day that is alive with the waving of palm branches, a day that is colorful with garments showering the ground to make smooth the way of the King.

Palm Sunday – at its root – is a day when we celebrate Jesus showing up. Jesus travelled non-stop during his ministry. In fact he said of his own ministry, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt 8:20). This statement speaks to Jesus’ lack of personal possessions – perhaps even speaks to his poverty – but it also sheds light on what was of important to our Lord. He valued people. He valued being with and serving people. For Jesus, it was people over possessions any day. When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, he was going to – as we say in the South – stay for a spell. People gathered to hear him preach. People gathered to see him go toe-to-toe with the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees. People gathered to be near him, to celebrate that the one they had heard stories about was close enough to tell the stories himself.

I wonder if Jesus were to show up today if we would take notice? Would there be a parade? Would there be a potluck? Would we even turn our heads?

These questions are what draw me to Holy Week like a magnet to a piece of iron. This week is full of stories and Scriptures that I have heard for decades and even though I have heard them for decades, I am not jaded by them. I will not allow myself to be jaded by them. I want Jesus to show up on Palm Sunday and I want to take notice. I want to take notice of everything. I want to wave a palm branch like Mr. and Mrs. Hermany taught me in Kids Choir 25 years ago – tap tap shaaaaaake! I want to actively and attentively listen as Jesus teaches in parables, answers questions about what is to come,  and schools the ornery Pharisees. I want to smell the bread that is broken and served at The Last Supper. I want to stand watch at his trial. I want to lean in as he carries his cross. I want to weep with the Marys. And come Easter Sunday I want to look into that borrowed grave and see that he is not there.

My friends, Holy Week is coming – and much like other moments in our faith lives – we will get out of it what we put into it. If we approach walking the final days of Christ’s life with a ho-hum been there, done that, got and gave away the t-shirt attitude, then we limit how we can experience these old, old stories in fresh and exciting ways. If we open ourselves, if we prepare ourselves, if we humble ourselves, God is ready to focus our eyes to see what God has prepared for us to see in living this week alongside our Messiah.

Palm Sunday is coming. Christ will show up. Will we meet him there?

Holy Week Opportunities at TUMC – 3925 Red Bug Lake Road – Casselberry

  • Saturday, March 28: Pancake Breakfast benefitting Imagine No Malaria at 8am in the Fellowship Hall and Easter Egg Hunt at 9:15am across the Church Campus
  • Sunday, March 29: Palm Sunday – Sunday School for all ages at 9:30am, Worship at 11am
  • Monday, March 30 – Tuesday, March 31 – Wednesday, April 1 – Prayer Stations available from 5pm-7pm in the Sanctuary Courtyard
  • Thursday, April 2 – Maundy Thursday Healing Service at 7pm in the Sanctuary
  • Friday, April 3 – Good Friday Service featuring the Tenebrae Cantata at 7pm in the Sanctuary
  • Easter Sunday, April 5 – Worship at 8am, Sunday School for all ages at 9:30am, Worship at 11am

Prayer: “All glory, laud, and honor, to thee, Redeemer, King, to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring. Thou art the King of Israel, thou David’s royal Son, who in the Lord’s name comest, the King and Blessed One. To thee, before thy passion, they sang their hymns of praise; to thee, now high exalted, our melody we raise. Thou didst accept their praises; accept the prayers we bring, who in all good delightest, thou good and gracious King. All glory, laud, and honor, to thee, Redeemer, King, to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.”* Amen.

*”All Glory, Laud, and Honor,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 280.

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