Palm Sunday Sermon, March 25, 2018


1-11-18 picToday we are celebrating three different things.
March 25th is the Feast of the Annunciation. It has this name because 9 months before Jesus was born, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth. Jesus is coming!
A second festive gathering was a parade on Palm Sunday as the people flocked along the path in hopes of seeing Jesus’ arrival. Jesus is coming!
Thirdly, we celebrate the youth of our county, of the United States, gathered in more than 800 different American cities, praying and hoping for an end to gun violence.
Three very different occasions, but all in a way celebrating peace and honoring the Prince of Peace.
We are also celebrating the coming of Spring, despite a seasonally late snowfall. So much to celebrate. Hosanna in the highest.
As one of your ministers it is my privilege to call you to listen, to listen, to hear, to read, to remember, and to rejoice.
On Palm Sunday, we are expectant and joyful. But for our church’s liturgical history and calendar, repeating itself year after year, we would not know today of the tragedy, terror and loss befalling Christians in the weekdays to come, before Easter’s Resurrection celebration.
As your worship leader, I celebrate this Holy Week, this holy season, with you. And I invite you to do the same.
Be expectant. Trust that life is good, and good things will come forth, especially good things coming forth out of our struggles.
Emanuel Swedenborg teaches us that our regeneration follows out of our repentance and renewal. We are also taught that regeneration comes out of our very struggles. The grist of our angst acts to fertilize our future good blessings.
How else can we deeply feel our joyfulness, without the pains of our longing?
How else will we deeply know our best paths to walk, without the rockiness of the wrong roads?
How else might we discover the true meaning of our lives, without times of forlornness and folly, when we are searching here and there, willy nilly?
Jesus teaches us the two Great Laws of Love. Love of the Lord our God, and love toward our neighbors.
We are taught to be expectant of grace and healing.
We are schooled to be thankful, and to take weekly sabbath, this day of Sabbath, our time of sacred rest.
On Maundy Thursday, our dear Christ-to-come broke bread and poured wine, to celebrate his last Seder supper with his beloved Disciples.
On what is ironically called Good Friday, he was taken away as a bandit, a ne’er do well, a sinner, and with other robbers and thugs was hung painfully on a cross, and crucified, until he died.
Friday night and Saturday were times of silence, darkness, grief and mystery.
Our dear Lord was gone, and the people were desolate, in mourning.
Out of space and out of time, the world stopped, with no sense of meaning to guide our way out of this messy crisis.
Waiting alone must be the loneliest place on earth.
But then at dawn, at daybreak, the women went to his tomb, and found a barren cave. And stood mystified.
Turning, they saw that He was risen, alive again on the third day, as the Lord had promised.
It is not yet Easter, but the Lord’s Resurrection is coming. Jesus is coming!
Let us be expectant.
Let us celebrate.
Let us wave our palms with expectant joy, knowing our God is our Lord, Jesus.
And we will be reborn in Him.
We are grateful and blessed.
We are your dear children, Lord.


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