Palm Sunday: March 25, 2018
8:45 Open Door Contemporary Worship
11:00 am Worship in the Sanctuary
"The Passion of Jesus: The Cross" - Dr. Charles Grant
Week of March 23, 2018
Palms and Passion
Palm Sunday is a joyous day as we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem to the cries of "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" Palm Sunday is also a foreshadowing of the day when the cheering stopped. This Sunday is both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday. We cannot forget that on Palm Sunday we stand at the head of Holy Week. Easter is a long week away. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday will be here before we know it.
In his Philippians Christ hymn, Paul writes that “Jesus suffers with us.” This man, who should never have suffered, suffered as we do; and in so doing, broke the power of death and transformed the terror of suffering. This man, who was as good as God, lived like us so that we might become like him. By so doing, Jesus shows us that any suffering can be endured if only it is shared.
There is nothing worse than suffering alone. Suffering can be endured if it can also be shared, which is why Jesus suffered with us, for us.
In my ministry I’ve had only two really difficult pastoral calls – calls I made with fear and trembling. I called on a dear 86-year-old woman with the news her son was imprisoned for assaulting his partner, a woman active in the congregation I served. And then it was my duty to tell a mother her son had been diagnosed with AIDS at a time when that diagnosis meant certain death. The former woman was able to endure her suffering because she was able to talk about it with a few dear friends. The other suffered alone, because she could not bring herself to share her burden even with her lifelong friends.
There is nothing worse than suffering alone, which is why Jesus suffered with us, for us. For suffering can be endured when it is shared.
One of the great works of art of the German Renaissance is the Isenheim Altarpiece by Mathias Grünewald. The center painting, the "Crucifixion of Christ,” is a particularly graphic representation of the crucified Christ. The body is contorted and covered with gruesome sores and wounds. This painting was commissioned by the Monastery of St. Anthony, which was devoted to the care and treatment of persons suffering from skin diseases. To those for whom the painting was commissioned, the crucified Christ depicted in the Isenheim Altarpiece was not gruesome at all. His scarred body looked just like their own bodies. In fact, the painting was intended as an affirmation of those whose lives were filled with suffering.
So also the suffering Jesus is not gruesome to us. Jesus suffered for us. Jesus suffers with us.
Many of us have already suffered through terribly tough times, and others will suffer a tough time, or many, in the future. That's what human life is all about. We are blessed to enjoy the parades and passions, the joys and fulfillment of human life. And like Jesus, we also know and will know again those days when the cheering stops.
My prayer for you is this:
When the tough times of life come to you or when they come again (and they will come - today, tomorrow, next year, five years from now),
Whenever the cheering stops,
I pray you will remember that the baby in the manger for whom the angels sang,
The Jesus who entered Jerusalem with fanfare and trumpet,
The Jesus who arose on Easter day,
Is also the man who carried a cross for you on Good Friday.
And because He carried His cross for us, we can carry the burdens of one another.
Thanks for listening,
Please keep in your prayers:
Those with special concerns:
- Jim Armstrong
- Brenda Beck (mother of Kendall Pennington)
- Margaret Ford
- Meredith Green
- Ernie Neer
- Marilyn Smart
Stuart Miller Porterfield on the death of his mother, Alice Bradley Porterfield, on March 9.
Members and family serving in the military:
- Edward Allen
- Jenny Sigel Burkett
- Matthew Horton
- Nathan Thomas Meade
Please let us know if you have a joy or concern that we may lift up in prayer. Contact Mary Kay Collins, or any of our pastors. If you are in immediate need of pastoral care, please call the church office at 358-2383. During night and weekend hours, your call will be transferred to a pastor on call.
Friday March 23
Sat., March 24
L. W. Garnett
Joe Godsey Jr.
Sunday, March 25
Tee Thompson V
Monday, March 26
Tuesday, March 27
Herb Marth Jr.
Sam Pace Jr.
Wed., March 28
Bob Peery Jr.
Thursday, March 29
Jed Londrey Jr.
Friday March 30
June Van Thoen