Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday

On Wednesday night during our regular youth activities the kids kept coming up to me saying, "Pastor Erik - can we show our march?" Finally, when we were done I said yes, and these little kids ran out of the sanctuary. Then, they appeared in another door, arms raised, and started marching through the church singing - Hosanna, Hosanna. The joy on their faces was a beautiful sight to see, and the excitement in their voices and actions was wonderful.

Today is Palm Sunday, and it is the start of that last days of Christ's life. We march with him into Jerusalem, singing our praises to the King of Kings, all the time knowing that Friday will bring great sorrow and next Sunday will be the moment of joy that brings hope and new life to all the world.

So this week my prayer is that you will take the time to reflect on this leg of Jesus' journey. That you will slow down, walk with Christ into Jerusalem, sit with him in the Upper Room, and weep with him during his final hours. For when we go through these experiences, the joy of Easter is so much sweeter. May you be blessed with a powerful Holy Week this year.

1 comment:

Betty Dygart said...

The Palm Sunday services were most moving. I always enjoy the Passion segment. Years previous to Pastors E & J coming to Our Savior's, attention was not placed on the Passion side of Palm Sunday. We spent the entire service waving our palms and celebrating the coming of Jesus to Jerusalem.

I suppose, if you are a Holy Week service attender, and come on Maundy Thursday, as well as Good Friday, you could argue that the pew dwellers don't "need" to be reminded on Palm Sunday of the trials Jesus is about to face, the floggings, the denials by his disciples and the total rejections from all sides as the crowd cries, "Crucify him!" We get that enough, you may say, with the retelling of "the night in which he was betrayed" and the next day, as he hangs on the cross.

However, not everyone attends all the Holy Week services. I know I will, because it does, as Pastor E has said, make Easter Sunday that much sweeter. After all, if Jesus died FOR ME, and went through all the physical and mental tortures he did FOR ME, the least I can do is to come for an hour on Thursday and Friday, to give thanks for what he did FOR ME.

This past Friday night I received a call from the daughter of one of my four sisters, informing me that my sister is in the hospital and had been there for a week, that she is on oxygen, suffering kidney and heart failure. Would I come to see her?

Why had it taken an entire week of my sister being in the hospital before this call came?? I was filled with such a mixture of feelings, I hardly knew what to say. Of course, I went to her.

Calling all my other siblings was a task left to me, as my niece "has an attitude" toward all the rest of the family. ("Only YOU came to see her, ever, Aunt Betty.")

You see, my 77-year-old sister did not make wise choices in her youth. She never completed even grade school. She married a man who often beat her, has never driven a car, and has fairly been the 'prisoner' of various 'controllers' during her life; first, her husband, until his death in 1992, and now her three children.

In these economic times, all of them have either already lost their jobs or are in fear of it happening. Their lifestyles, views on what is important in life, and just generally everything about them, is repugnant to my siblings. They do love their sister, of that I am sure, but it is easier for them to ignore her and her troubles; it is easier to "not think about her," and to not go to visit her.

I knew, as I spoke to my niece, that I would have to go on Saturday morning to my sister's bedside, and that I would take a communion set with me. She has, long ago, been rejected by her Wisconsin Synod Lutheran church in Waukesha, and has probably not had communion for over 30 years. My sister is JUST the type of person whom Jesus wants us all to minister to.

I wish you could have seen the light come into her eyes when I told her I had brought communion to her from the altar of Our Savior's of Beloit! Another of my sisters, who visited Lucille on Sunday, called me last night to tell me how wonderful it was that I took communion to our sister, and how that was all Lucille could talk about.

It gives me much comfort to know that she was reassured by my visit and by the reminder that Jesus died FOR HER. In her lifetime, not many things have been so.

Right now, I pray for God to speed her way to him. There seems little use of prolonging her journey. Thanks be to God.