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Celebrating Palm Sunday

 

Dear Church Family and Community,

 

I love seeing God work. This makes me a fan of Church history, because it helps us see how God has moved in our world and among His people over time. This implores me to be more aware of the worldwide Church, because then we see how God is moving in our world now, and among His people all across the globe. Church history and how God is working now, often comes together in the “Church Calendar” which unites us through Advent and Lent, Christmas and Easter.

 

Usually this time of year, the challenge is how can we learn from the past and from what God is doing now as we near the end of Lent, and prepare for Holy Week. This Sunday, we join with saints today and saints of old, to celebrate Palm Sunday. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem pronounces Him as King. However, the coronation Jesus embarks upon is not what was dreamed by the people; the kingdom Jesus ushers in is not of this world.

 

Usually in seasons like this, we are reminded of our link to the worldwide Church and the historic Church. Before Covid-19, it was so easy to take for granted that we get to celebrate Palm Sunday and usher in Holy Week together as a family and community. Each Palm Sunday, part of our celebration is having our children “march” throughout our sanctuary waving palm branches. Their joy and glee mixed with slight confusion is often a highlight for all the rest of us. I will miss that this year. I will also be grateful that our link to the worldwide and historic church, and to each other, still remains – though we are not currently meeting together.

 

This Sunday, we celebrate Palm Sunday with sisters and brothers all around the world. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem is detailed in all four gospels (Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19). The people gathered because they believed, and they worshipped Christ as King. Jesus fulfills prophecy in coming to Jerusalem, and He accomplishes God’s plan for the salvation of the world. What we missed back then and even still today is that Jesus came not as a political power, but as the Messiah…God’s chosen Servant King.

 

Please take time to read and pray through the passages listed above. As you read, ask and try to answer what do the people believe about Jesus, and what do I believe about Jesus? How are the people worshipping Christ as King, and how do I worship Christ as King? Why is it significant to the people that Jesus fulfilled prophecies of old, and why is that significant to us? Why is it important that God says and does what He promises? And lastly, Jesus comes to fulfill not our hopes and dreams, but God’s plan of salvation for the world. How is God calling you to join in this work?

 

Holy Week will look very different for us this year. Our deacons will not be leading a Maundy Thursday meal and service. We will not be hosting our usual Good Friday stations for adults as well as children. We will be staying online and offering some different options – so, please stay tuned. In all that we offer, and in all the ways we’ll worship together, our goal will be to remember Jesus, our Servant King. The One who came into our world and showed us how to live and love like God our Father is the One who served, proclaimed the Kingdom of God, healed the sick, set the oppressed free, washed the feet of His disciples, enjoyed a meal with many close ones who would desert Him, and ultimately laid down His life to save this world and set us free.

 

I had a hard time thinking of my earliest Palm Sunday memories this week. I was hoping to find some significance there. However, my failure to remember defined moments only underscored this truth: Palm Sunday has always been a celebration with family for the work our Servant King Jesus came to do. The celebration may look different this year, but the work was still done, we are still family, and we still get to celebrate!! Praise God from whom all blessing flow, praise Jesus for coming to save us, and praise the Spirit for weaving and holding all of us together as one,

 

God bless you all.

 

Love in Christ,

Pastor Hank (Matthew 21:9)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104
E: pastorhank@harrisburgbic.org