Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sermon Summaries: Palm Sunday, the King of Peace, and Shattered Expectations

Christians celebrate Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into the capital city of Israel, where David had brought the Ark of the Covenant, the footstool of God, and Solomon had built the Temple for God, and shattered expectations. The Israelites had come to the city for Passover. Visions filled their minds of Moses and God extracting them from slavery in Egypt and brought them into the promised land. Now, the people of Israel were eager for a new conquering Messiah, a warrior King who could free them from the oppression of Rome ... and any other threat that might come to light.

Jesus begins his entry into the city in Bethphage, an outermost village of the city, the farthest city from which bread could be baked for use in the Temple, on a donkey, a nursing mother donkey trailing her colt behind her. He was given a king's triumphal procession by disciples and followers, who placed cloaks and palm leaves on the road before him. While they cried out Hosanna to the Son of David, or Save Us Son of David! they declared his royal lineage. In Jerusalem there was confusion. Who was this? Could a true Messiah come to town riding a symbol of peace rather than a war horse as they had hoped. Could a Messiah be a king of peace arriving with devoted followers and disciples but no legions of troops to depose Rome? Could a true Messiah overturn the market stalls in the Temple that kept Gentiles away from God? Could a real Messiah spend his time around a high holy holiday proclaiming all that was wrong with Jerusalem and her religious leadership?

The people of Jerusalem were tasked with seeing if they could adjust their expectations from those of a warrior Messiah to a King of Peace. It is the same task all believers face. In a society that proclaims might makes right and cries out that individuals must arm themselves and take the law into their own hands in the face of evil  ... Jesus calls us to the life of peacemakers, breaking down barriers that divide people, reaching out a helping hand to strangers and enemies alike, working to end the injustices of our world just as he worked to end the injustices of his. What choice will you make?

Wishing you a blessed Palm Sunday and Easter every year, and a full and blessed life. Come by next Sunday and hear what is said in the sermon for yourself. Enjoy the prayers and hymns, the Children's Time, and the community too, all first hand. You will be most welcome. 

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