Sunday, April 05, 2009

Palm Sunday

Today's Link
The Main Ingrediant

Today's Saying
Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
~Harold Whitman

Today's Picture

Liturgical churches have a choice this morning they can celebrate Palm Sunday ( Mark 11:1-11) or they can celebrate The Sunday of the Passion ( Mark 14:1-15:47). The Palm Sunday text is relatively short the Sunday of the Passion is long and contains all the events of the last few days of Jesus including his death on the cross. Usually I choose to go with the Palm Sunday text.
Palm Sunday has always fascinated me. It contains one of those unbelievable events where for a moment people put aside their fears , embrace Jesus, and are free.
This parade which is the center of today’s text takes place, if you will, in enemy territory. It is a freedom parade. It is a parade that says we are no longer Roman slaves we are followers of the Messiah, the one who sets us free. It took courage to be in this parade. Some Roman soldier might take offense and kill you on the spot. Roman soldiers did that. But they came anyway. They marched in front of and behind the Messiah on a donkey. What a sight that must have been.
Their fear must have told them to be quiet. Don’t attract attention. But they ignored their fears and they shouted "Hosanna!” . They didn’t whisper it they shouted it. They shouted "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" You could not miss them. It was their moment. They were free. He was their messiah.
On Good Friday while others were hollering crucify him they would be hiding in their homes hoping nobody saw them in that parade. Now they would be afraid to go outside. But inside they remembered the glory of the moment. They remembered the Messiah on a donkey.
I am sure that after the Resurrection many of them joined the disciples in forming the new Church. I believe some of them even died for the faith.
The parade goes on.
The story is told that in the Soviet Union right after the Revolution the communist leaders in a little town made all the citizens gather on Easter and spent an hour explaining that there was no God and that the beloved communist leaders would free them from their religious chains. When they finished an old man stood up and shouted “ Christ has risen” and every last person in the crowd responded “ Christ has risen indeed”. They joined the parade. They saw the Messiah on the donkey. They were free.
This Palm Sunday morning you are invited to join or rejoin the parade. You don’t have to join a Church. You don’t have to pick a denomination. You just have to let the Messiah on a donkey set you free.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
It’s Palm Sunday and poor Pastor Joan is suffering from stress overload. Her Sunday School superintendent is out sick, Herman is away on a retreat, and she is stuck trying to make sure everything is ready for the Sunday School parade of palms. Half the kids , she has discovered, don’t know the words to “Sing Hosanna” which they are supposed to sing as they march. It’s too late to teach them to them. They don’t know which kids are going right and which ones are going left when they get to the front of the church. The big palm leafs didn’t come so they have to use the small ones. It is going to be a disaster. She just knows it is.
It was at this point that her husband sat her down and reminded her it wasn’t her service it was God’s. It was done so that God might speak a Word to the congregation. It was done so people might see Jesus. That miracle wasn’t done by her but by the Holy Spirit. Further God would seem to have a sense of humor and might enjoy a less than perfect parade. In any case the congregation will. So he took over preparations for the parade and she went back to finishing up her sermon “ Messiah on a Donkey”. Here is part of that sermon:
“ If there had been a reporter at that parade into Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday the evening TV news would have shown some images of the crowd and Jesus on the donkey. The announcer would have talked about the foolish people who thought the Messiah would ride a donkey instead of a war horse. “You can’t fight Rome with palm leaves you need swords. All they are doing is getting Rome mad and their so called Messiah killed.” he might have said.
When you think about it a Messiah on a donkey doesn’t seem reasonable. We all know to set people free you have to blow them up. It is the way of the world. The world then and the world now has no room for Messiahs of peace.
But Jesus, our Messiah, is a Messiah of peace. He rides a donkey not a war horse.
He brings peace to troubled souls. They bring peace to troubled families. They bring peace to troubled neighborhoods.
May His peace fill each one of you.

Wrap UP
Nice day but it is supposed to snow tonight. Went to Church this morning. It was a great service. Instead of a sermon the Pastor and three other people read the Passion narrative. The Pastor did the narrative and they did the voices of people in the text. It was awesome. That was the sermon. The children's choir sang with the adult choir having done a Palm Sunday processional. At the fellowship hour afterward the youth group started their Flamingo campaign.
I spent most of the afternoon bring the website up to date. Then I visited every blog that left a comment yesterday. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Anonymous quilly said...

Pastor Joan's sermon sounds promising. I'd like to hear it all.

Tomorrow the entire congregation will gather in the church courtyard. The Heavenly Handbell Choir (of which I am a member) will play, and then everyone will pick up a palm branch (there is no shortage of them here) and parade into the the church -- where I imagine the service will proceed as usual -- but I somehow suspect that our theme is not the Passion of Christ.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice post. I enjoy reading these on Sunday. It makes me dig deeper into myself actually :)

3:44 AM  
Blogger Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Great post.
I'm free!

4:42 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

Our church will definitely be celebrating Palm Sunday. The rest of the week will be devoted to The Passion... but today will be the parade! It is a busy church week, but it is my favorite week of the year. I have prayed that God will really let me FEEL the sorrow of my sin this week. I don't think I FEEL nearly sorry enough for the things I do... I think I should suffer with Him.

I have avoided watching the movie, The Passion of The Christ... I hate violence and blood, and I really don't WANT to SEE what they did to Him. But this year I have decided to watch it. Dennis and I are going to watch it after church on Friday. It's gonna kill me... I just know it. I'll probably end up closing my eyes through most of it. I couldn't even watch when they beat Kunta Kinte in Roots! How will I ever WATCH them crucify my Lord?

May His peace be with you too. (and Pastor Joan!)

6:00 AM  
Blogger Pat - Arkansas said...

This morning, our congregation will gather outside the church's front doors with palm branches in hand and have our parade, moving into the church singing hymns. During the Liturgy of the Word, however, we will use the Mark 14 text, which has become traditional for us.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

Your sermons always move me.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

The parade goes on, indeed. Beautiful!

8:11 AM  
Blogger Sylvia K said...

You have a way of saying things that makes sense -- I gave up on organized religion a long time ago, but not spituality. It is what gets me up every morning, what opens my eyes to the beauty everywhere that overshadows the ugly that is also always there. It warms me on the cold days, calms me on the ugly ones, cools the heat on the hot days. Whatever we can do to focus and perhaps help others to focus on the beauty that is and can be seen if we look for it is worth the time and the effort. The parade indeed goes on.
Thanks for your words, your thoughts.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Jientje said...

Palm Sunday.
A childhood memory.

Thank you for that.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Cherie said...

The story in the Soviet Union of "Christ Has Risen!"; "Christ Has Risen Indeed!" Is one of my very favorites. :) Happy Palm Sunday!

2:27 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I can see that I'm not the only one who loves your Sunday post!

Thank you.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Melli said...

WAIT a minute! YOUR youth group is doing a Flamingo campaign!? Is it the same as OURS used to be??? I'm going over to see if there's something about it on the website! (you never answer my questions!)

5:38 PM  
Blogger Mojo said...

Snow? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, the weather seems to be doing odd things all over the place these days. But still...

5:53 PM  
Blogger tsduff said...

join or re-join. very good.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Lori's Minute said...

Our church did the same thing. If I did not know any better I would say we went to the same church!

8:43 PM  
Blogger Gattina said...

The only thing I can tell is that most of the people are on easter holidays, and the churches probably even more empty as usual.

10:05 PM  
Blogger The Old Fart said...

Dr John ~ I am only reading this now, it was Thom who said you wrote a piece on Palm Sunday. I never realized all day that it was and being a Christian I should know this.

Now it all makes sense why I was driving a bus with Adverstising on it Proclaiming "God Does Exist".

I tell you once I discovered this I felt God as my Co-Pilot all day.

Yes there are some buses with the Heathen Advertising as well with the Atheist message as well, but so far God has answered my Prayers and I've been lucky enough not to have to drive one of these buses.

Blessings to you and Betty

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...

I love the story about Communist Russia! And yes, I do believe God has a sense of humour. I think He has to. ;)

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Six days late in reading, but I am so glad I did! We were on spring break vacation this past week and I missed going to church on Sunday. (I did spent time praying as my 16yo was driving at the time! Yikes!!)
So now I have my Palm Sunday sermon, even if it did come after the Seder Dinner and Maundy Thursday service, and Good Friday, too!
Now I am ready for Easter Sunday!

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:52 AM  
Blogger ruru said...


1:38 AM  

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