Tag Archives: Palm/Passion Sunday

God on the Move: Palm/Passion Sunday

Last year I wrote these words in March:

Holy Week begins. This sacred time invites us into these days of exhilaration, intrigue, theological arguments, exhaustion, betrayal, injustice, trial and execution. That is a great deal of drama to pack in one short week. Yet, often life is like that, perhaps not the extreme ups and downs of being hailed the savior of the world on one day and being crucified and mocked on another, but we know those ups and downs.

Holy Week is a time filled with highs and lows and deep questions about justice and love and a longing for that reign of God that Jesus promised. For me, Holy Week is a reminder of how fast myself and many others can go from the high of exciting parade, to the rage of a violent mob. God moves through love, but sometimes that love is too much to take.

So I enter Holy Week acknowledging my complicity in the evil that often poses as neutrality and thoughtfulness in the world. I acknowledge the sin of my silence, when my voice would make a difference. My own Holy tradition is filled with music that reminds me of those last days and hours of Jesus’ life. Perhaps not “traditional” music, but it is good for my soul:

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At First UMC  are multiple opportunities to move with God through this sacred time. On our website all the special services are listed. Today’s worship service can be found here

In our Christ Memorial Chapel are windows depicting the life of Jesus. These amazing works of art filled with joy each week. In the center lower section is the scene that we remember on this day:

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I invite you to move with me this week through these hard and holy days that we may be ready to have the eyes to see and the ears to hear the Good News of Christ’s resurrection!

 

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Year of Gratitude April: Week 2

There is a lovely hymn with these words:

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

Natalie Sleeth wrote these words as an anthem in 1985 and it became a hymn in 1986. Since then, Hymn of Promise has appeared in multiple hymnals and is used for both memorial services and Easter. This song has become deeply beloved as well.

Today in Wichita, after several days in the 70’s and 80’s a cold and bitter wind has swept down from the north. In some places blizzard warnings have occurred and certainly jackets and coats are back on instead of a light wrap or no wrap at all. The tender petals of the flowers are taking a beating and some plants may be hurt by the dramatic change in weather. I grew concerned, so I went and cut a few of the tulips and brought them indoors, so I could enjoy them if the wind battered them too much.

tulips vase

They are beautiful on my table. These tulips remind me that I sometimes need space, away from the battering and blowing winds of life to just be. Holy Week, with all it’s added activities can be such a place. The services can allow me time to focus on what really matters in push to Easter.

This week my growing edge is more physical than spiritual. There is 5K on Saturday, and while I have been working hard to get ready for it, this week was filled with really long days. I stretched, but lost several days that I would have preferred to walk and do longer distances. No matter, I am giving thanks for the ability to walk a 5K, for the finances that allow me to pay the entry fee and in doing so help First’s school partnerships with Park and Washington Elementry Schools.

I wrote a thank note to someone who had given me a tulip plant. It is an orange and yellow tulip and it is lovely. I look forward to putting in the ground to enjoy in the years to come.

What are your growing edges physically this week? How are you finding  space to pay attention to those edges and to prepare for Holy Week next week: phyisically, emotionally and spiritually? How are you adapting to the cold winds that come unexpectedly in the season of spring and in this season of your life?

Beginning with Palm/Passion Sunday and through Holy Week, these words from Hymn of Promise help me to focus and center:

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

May Holy Week be a time of blessing and of promise. In the midst of the busyness, may you find some moments to give thanks to the God who offers hope and love.

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Who Is this Man? The Sacrificial Jesus

Holy Week begins. This sacred time invites us into these days of exhilaration, intrigue, theological arguments, exhaustion, betrayal, injustice, trial and execution. That is a great deal of drama to pack in one short week. Yet, often life is like that, perhaps not the extreme ups and downs of being hailed the savior of the world on one day and being crucified and mocked on another, but we know those ups and downs.

In many churches, First United Methodist Church included, the week is filled with special music, services and programs. Yesterday in worship, we celebrated Palm/Passion Sunday, basically the whole week in one hour. The children processing with Palms and adults waving them in the pews was a wonder to behold. Then Pastor Rebecca found a way to engage the whole congregation shouting phrases like: Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  The sanctuary was loud and noisy, just like it might have been that first Palm Sunday. I was moved by the experience. You can watch the entire service here.

I plan to savor every moment of this week from the noon Music and Prayer on Wednesday, to the prayer stations, communion and light meal on Thursday and the service of darkness, Tenebrae on Friday. On Friday evening, when everything is done, I will do what I have done for decades, I will watch Jesus Christ Superstar and prepare my spirit for Easter.

I pray that this Holy Week might be a sacred time for you.

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