Lent 40: using gifts

27 03 2013

Palm Sunday. Triumphal Entry. Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, a humble animal to say the least. Prophecy fulfilled. Praises offered.

Lent 40: using giftsOne of the ways we honor this humble King today is by using our God-given gifts.

On Palm Sunday at Christ Covenant, I was once again touched by the gifts within our church community. I am touched and blessed by the multitude of gifts used on any given Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Day 40: you’re taking me where?

17 04 2011

youre taking me where?

Donkeys are supposedly stubborn. At least that’s the stereotype. So I wonder how much resistance the two disciples met with, when they untied the donkey/colt from wherever it was tied up, and took it to Jesus. I don’t know that I’ve ever been responsible for leading a donkey anywhere…. I can’t think of a time. But obviously the donkey ended up going on the journey, carrying Jesus into Jerusalem. So, stubborn or not, the donkey played a key role in what we call “Palm Sunday”.

I’d love to know (a) what that donkey was thinking as it was being led to Jesus, and (b) what it had to say after the day was over. And, maybe (c) if Jesus and the disciples talked to the donkey at all. or rubbed its nose… or fed it anything.. or scratched its ears…

Day 39: save now

16 04 2011

Save BIG. Big savings. Save now. Save 10%. Save 50%. Save more than the other place. Save by doing ______ now. Save, save, save… savings. Even before our economy went downhill, our culture loved savings. And we still do. But I wonder if we would truly understand the significance of shouting out, “Save us now, Son of David!” As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the bystanders shouted, “Hosanna!”, which means “Save now…”

We in this century can look back to that era and recognize that Jesus’ audience wanted saving from the Roman superpower. So it’s easy for us to say, “Wow, were they wrong!” But what do we hope to be saved from? And how much are we hoping to be saved from? Sometimes I think that we’d be happy if Christ would come and save only 25% of our lives, and that’s a big enough “savings”… because it would be too difficult for Christ to save our whole life. Too much work on our part.

Though God is more than a slogan, or a gimmick, we know that God does save. BIG. Now–and whenever we give our hearts to him.

“Hosanna!” the crowd called out. Save now!

Alright… Jesus might say. Hang on a few days, and you’ll get your saving. 100% salvation, for all who believe.

Day 37: alarming sound

14 04 2011

alarming sound

I think this is what happened. In the early fall of 2009, when Jim and I visited Harleysville for the first time, we were riding around in Carolyn’s car, and were stopped at a stoplight. Right then an obnoxious, alarming, deafening, frightening sound went off–very close to us. Of course, if we had been alone, we would have eventually figured out what it was. But fortunately Carolyn was driving, and was able to explain that to us that we happened to be quite close to a township siren–so there was probably a fire somewhere. I still think of that sound often–not every time I drive by the siren, which is pictured here, but often.

I imagine that for the crowd on that first Palm Sunday, the sounds of “Hosanna” aimed at the man on the donkey weren’t so alarming. For some, maybe, but not for most. After all, crowd mentality takes over, and you simply jump in. But for the religious authorities, who were trying to do whatever they could to get rid of the guy… this would be alarming. It would further confirm their need to take action against Jesus. Little did they know that their actions would only help fulfill scripture, some of the very scriptures they claimed to subscribe to.

Before we get too down on the religious leaders, though, let’s remind ourselves that we don’t always like the sounds of Jesus. We don’t mind the ones like “Hosanna”, which mean “Save, please!” And we don’t mind the nice, gentle-Jesus… but the one who challenges us beyond what’s comfortable, the one who suggests that we need to live differently… the one who even would die on the cross? Sometimes these “sounds” of Jesus are a bit too jarring, alarming, and somewhat frightening.

palms, ready and waiting

27 03 2010

palms, ready and waiting

Originally uploaded by cathyse97.

Thanks to Emma, (new Emma) for the use of her camera this morning, and emailing the photos to me! When we were at church for the Community Breakfast, I realized that the palms were out in the narthex, waiting for Sunday.. already torn apart by a volunteer, ready and waiting. So I asked E & L if one of them had a camera I could borrow.. they did. Thanks!

Palm Sunday can be so fun and celebrative…palms, celebration, praise, Hosannas, singing, kids marching/entering the sanctuary… Every Palm Sunday, though, I can’t help but remember the coming Holy week. The cross, the crown of thorns (pictured in the photo, etched in the glass)…

So tomorrow we both celebrate and anticipate. And remember.