Pastor’s Pen 4.4.2020
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Thoughts for Palm Sunday
If you have followed the Bible reading schedule I suggested for the season of Lent, you should be reading John’s rendering of all that transpired prior to and including the Crucifixion of Jesus. As I stated in last month’s newsletter article, the purpose of this slow but deliberate reading of the Gospel of John is to add the spiritual disciplines of scripture reading and meditation to your spiritual discipline of fasting.
I will welcome in Palm Sunday by sitting quietly outside as the sun breaks the horizon. Once the dawn arrives, I will walk slowly as a kind of commemoration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. If you are able to go out into your yard, I encourage you take a similar spiritual walk. If you cannot, I invite you from the comfort of your favorite chair to take this inner spiritual walk. During that walk, I will reflect on how at times I too have made a choice to not see Jesus as the suffering Messiah, but as a military leader as did the crowds on the first Palm Sunday (See Palm Sunday Sermon).
It is very easy, and very seductive to replace the Servant Christ of the Bible with our contemporary Christ, who bears little resemblance to God’s Messiah. I invite you to pray with me that God will draw us along the narrow and difficult path of righteousness and help us avoid the broad road of cultural self-righteousness. Every day of our life we must make a choice which one we will follow: the one that leads to calling out for the powers of this world, or the one that leads us to align with the Christ.
Actually the readings for the coming week provide us with ample opportunity to place ourselves in the text, to see ourselves more clearly and to grow more deeply in our spiritual walk. Think about it – when have we claimed Christ when it suited us (as did the people on Palm Sunday who wanted a conquering King)? They sided with those who want the power of the world as did those who wanted Barabbas released instead of Jesus.
Do you truly understand the Christ, who washed the feet of the disciples, as the humble servant of the least and the last, and that as his disciples we are to do the same? How did that work out the last time you were at a church luncheon and you were the last one through the line?
When your Christian walk got a little tough, how did you desert Jesus as did the Disciples in Gethsemane? It is one thing to say “I would die for Christ,” when things are good, it is another thing altogether to stay with Christ when people are swinging swords at you.
What was the setting where, when you had the clear opportunity to say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus the Christ,” but you demurred or said nothing at all? Peter denied Christ in the courtyard of the High Priest, but he didn’t deny his failure to himself. That fact led him to a dark night of the soul and once he pressed through, he moved on to redemption and a closer walk with Christ.
In some way, we all should intentionally walk this journey if we really want to experience the Easter Resurrection.
Rev. Douglas E. Smith