Sunday, March 28, 2010

Responding To Jesus

Today we celebrated Palm Sunday at New Life Covenant Church. Pastor Brad welcomed us and reminded us that it was no ordinary Sunday. Today ushers in the events of Holy Week. Two thousand years ago Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, showing the world that His was a different kind of kingdom. Other kings might be carried in or ride in on chariots. The character of His kingdom was in stark contrast to these others.

Announcements began with a reminder that the Good Friday worship service will be at 7:00 p.m. On Easter there will be no Sunday school, and we will instead have a breakfast from 9-10 followed by an Easter Egg Hunt for the young.

If you are still interested in having a "Secret Sister" contact Joanne Winship.

And there is still a need for five more volunteers to donate blood in April.

Susie brought some of the bowls to show what some of you in our church family made in her studio for the Empty Bowl Project, which raises money for the hungry in Duluth.

Before entering into a time of worship we enjoyed a skit about the meaning of Hosanna, which people were shouting during the Lord's entry into Jerusalem. The skit was a perfect lead in to the reading of this passage from Luke 19 beginning at verse 28, the commencement of what has come to be known as Holy Week.

Responding To Jesus

Two thousand years ago this day began in a very extraordinary way. No one would have guessed that but a few days later it would end at a tomb. Numerous themes crowd around the events of Holy Week. One that Pastor Brad noted today was that our busy lives are not altogether dissimilar from the chaotic crush of crowds in Jerusalem at that time. And in the midst of all this activity, it is possible for us to miss the significant moments just as the Lord's disciples did at that time.

Today's message was striking in its both its simplicity and its brevity. Brad asked, "Will we recognize Him and crown Him King?"

It's hard to imagine the excitement of that first Holy Week beginning with what is now known as Palm Sunday. Two million people jammed the city of Jerusalem for the Passover. And only a few days earlier Jesus raised a man named Lazarus from the dead. Word was spreading that this Jesus was coming to town. When Jesus appeared riding on the back of a donkey, Zechariah's prophesy came readily to mind of a Messiah who would deliver His people arriving in this manner.

The emotional crescendo as He came to the road that went down the Mount of Olives must have been remarkable as the crowd of disciples praised God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen. This was a scene like nothing that anyone had ever seen before. Something extraordinary was about to happen.

Yet, even in the midst of all this, the disciples were distracted by their own inward issues and self-absorbed lives. You can see this, Brad said, in the way that they came to Jesus asking him about details like, "uhm, Jesus, where do you want us to go prepare the Passover supper?" It would seem they were more preoccupied with details and were missing the significance of the moment.

Just the day before Jesus told them He was going to be handed over to the authorities, mocked, flogged and crucified. Still, the disciples failed to grasp this. Jesus was fully conscious that these were the men to whom he would be handing over the baton of leadership. These were His final hours. Jesus not only knew He was going to die, but how he was going to die. He knew He would endure not only the physical suffering, butu would bear the sins of the world and experience a separation from the Father.

"Excuse me, Jesus, like, have you made plans for the Passover yet?" Jesus could have been annoyed that these, his closest friends, were so clueless and distracted by trivialities.

Brad turned this around to us. "Are you so distracted by life's business that you miss the significant moments?"

During that first Holy Week the disciples were distracted, but Jesus still invited them to be with Him. Jesus wants to spend time with you, too.

Brad concluded by encouraging us not to miss these moments. Read your Bible this week and acknowledge what Jesus has done for you. We worship a living Savior and a living Lord. God is inviting distracted people to be with Him on this extraordinary week.

At this we turned to celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

No comments: