Posts Tagged ‘humility’

Learning about Prayer from King Solomon

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Message by guest speaker Rev. Tony Schmidt

Rev. Tony Schmidt shares with us that prayer is a consistent way of life, a continuous activity.

Text: 1 Kings 3:5-9, 8:23

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Understanding Life from A to Z

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Message by Pastor Tom

What is the first chapter of our history as the human race? What is the last chapter? What is our beginning and origin? Jesus says that these critical questions are wrapped up in who he is.

Text: Revelation 1:1-8

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Not Yet Easter

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.” 1 John 3:1-3; 2 Corinthians 9:15

The story of what we call Palm Sunday is good reading. Jesus is approaching Jerusalem. He sends disciples to find a colt, which is waiting for him, and then he mounts and rides into Jerusalem to the acclaim of crowds spreading cut branches and their cloaks and branches.

But those palm fronds give away the bitter, ironic truth. Sure, the crowd cut them down and laid them in the road to smooth his path. But they might as well have thrown stones at his pony, for all the good they did him.

The palm branches signaled their expectation of a military victory. Here they were, captive in their own homeland. Foreign soldiers ordered and organized their society. The boot of Rome crushed their necks. These people came out to cheer for Jesus, the miracle-working rabbi from Nazareth, because they wanted him to overthrow their oppressors. They expected Jesus to lead an uprising of military and political liberation, not to lay down his life as a spiritual sacrifice for Romans as well as Jews.

The Palm Sunday crowd loved Jesus for what they expected him to be, not for what he was. That “love” evaporated between Sunday morning, when he rode into Jerusalem, and Thursday night, when the Roman and Jewish leaders collaborated to try him for treason. Even his hand-picked followers, who had spent three years watching him perform miracles and listening to him teach, fled in fear.

It is tempting to judge them harshly. We know “the rest of the story”—yes, he died on a Roman cross later that week, but he arose from the grave the following Sunday and defeated death, offering forgiveness, acceptance and eternal life to all who will believe in him. So, we condemn their hard-hearted spiritual blindness. We can’t understand why they couldn’t get it.

Yet, not all that much has changed in 2,000 years. Many people still love Jesus for what they want him to do for them, not necessarily what his heavenly Father sent him to earth to do, which was to offer spiritual healing to all people, eternal life to “whosoever will” embrace him in faith.

This Palm Sunday, we need to remember the crowd that lined Jesus’ path. We need to remember the palm branches and allow them to remind us how little that crowd understood Jesus’ mission, how wrong they were. But rather than look back, we need to pray for humility and ask God to grant us vision to superimpose God’s will for our lives and this world over our own selfish desires.

Pastor/preacher/professor Fred Craddock warns against making Palm Sunday a “false Easter.” We’ll have time for celebrating Jesus’ resurrection next week. Palm Sunday remains part of Lent, a season of repentance and renewal. May we ask God to forgive us for projecting our will upon his and to help us live in humility before him and with others.