Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday
March 28, 1999
Liturgy of the Palms
|Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29||The righteous enter through the gate of the Lord||75: All People That on Earth
407: Close to Thee
|Matthew 21:1-11||Christ enters Jerusalem||277: Tell Me the Stories
278: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
280: All Glory, Laud, and Honor
Liturgy of the Passion
|Isaiah 50:4-9a||The steadfast servant of the Lord||413: A Charge to Keep I
436: The Voice of God Is Calling
|Psalm 31:9-16||The servant trusts in the Lord||289: Ah, Holy Jesus
396: O Jesus, I Have Promised
|The plot, the meal,
the prayer, the zeal,
the trial, the rage,
the cross, the grave.
|267: O Love, How Deep
282: 'Tis Finished! The Messiah Dies
286: O Sacred Head Now Wounded
287: O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done
|Philippians 2:5-11||The humble servant exalted||181: Ye Servants of
559: Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation
715: Rejoice, the Lord Is King
The human condition is a matter that we must reflect on seriously, but that does not mean that it is a condition that exists without joy. In case this had slipped by unnoticed, watch the children who come into the sanctuary on Palm Sunday, processing up and down the aisles and waving their branches. Watch the teachers and parents walking with them, grinning from ear to ear and trying dodge some of the more vigorous "flailing of the palms." Watch the people in the congregation, eyes sparkling and some pointing out their own children and grandchildren. Watch the ministers and choir at the front of the church, too. There is a spirit of joy and happiness that fills the sanctuary on these occasions.
What is it about this human condition? We know that we have separated ourselves from God, the only true source of joy and faith and hope and love. Yet we experience happiness in spite of the separation. How can this be? Could it be that we still have some connection with God? Perhaps this is the answer. After all, God spoke with Adam in the Garden of Eden after he and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit; to Noah after society had continued to decline; to the Patriarchs after they faltered; to Moses after he had killed a man; to Ezekiel after the children of Israel had fallen into bondage. It may not be perfect communion, but the connection between God and His people remains. How do we describe this? Perhaps the Apostle Paul came closest in his letter to the Corinthians when he said, "Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face."
Is there a time when "the mirror is brighter?" Is there a time when we can see or understand God better? I believe there is. I believe there is whenever I see children marching on Palm Sunday. I believe there is whenever I see the people of the church smiling with those children. I believe there is whenever the name of God is raised in hymns and shouts of praise. And it is in these times that I believe there is a reason within the human condition to be joyful. I believe that the reason comes from the hope of having full and complete communion with the all loving and all powerful God. And I believe that this hope can be seen at its greatest and best in the faces and voices of children.
This week's featured hymn was written by Jeanette Threlfall (1821-1880). In its words she captured the best of the human condition--the songs and praises of children lifted up to the almighty Savior and God. Put a smile on your face, a tune in your heart, and read these words with the excitement of a child:
|1. Hosanna, loud hosanna,
the little children sang,
through pillared court and temple
the lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them
close folded to his breast,
the children sang their praises,
the simplest and the best.
|2. From Olivet they followed
mid an exultant crowd,
the victor palm branch waving,
and chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of earth and heaven
rode on in lowly state,
nor scorned that little children
should on his bidding wait.
It is Palm Sunday--it is Passion Sunday. Wave your palms with the same joy that children do. Share your passion with the same conviction that Christ does. Rejoice today, and eternally rejoice! Our Savior is here to overcome all that is wrong in the human condition, and to affirm all that is right in God's creation.
God bless you--
Lection at HymnSite.com
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|