April 10 – Palm/Passion Sunday
A Moment for Mission
“You have … become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” —Psalm 118:21b-23, NRSV
Courage is borrowed heart. It’s drawing on the heart of God and on the heart of one another, when our own hearts are broken or afraid.
About a third of Luke’s Gospel is devoted to Jesus making his way to Jerusalem, beginning with chapter 9 when it says that Jesus set his face toward the holy city.
This is striking to me because as Jesus walked, he may have traced the steps of Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem.
What hit me hardest was the realization that, according to Luke at least, Jesus probably crossed the Jordan just a few days before entering Jerusalem.
If the scholars are correct, Jesus likely crossed at the same part of the river where he was baptized by John and declared “beloved” by his heavenly father.
For Jesus, it was the path of courage, the path of remembering that God was with him.
This is conjecture—just one preacher trying to imagine the heart of Christ on that first Holy Week—but what a powerful image! If it’s true, Jesus traced the footsteps of his ancestors and remembered the promise of his baptism in the days just before he entered the holy city.
For all the celebrations and singing on that first Palm Sunday, the Gospel writers made it clear that, standing atop the Mount of Olives, looking down over the holy city, Jesus knew what was coming.
Courage is borrowed heart.
What worries you? Doing poorly in school? Fighting among friends? Getting sick?
Who can help ease your worries? A caring teacher? A classmate who encourages everyone to get along? Health care workers who deal with sickness every day?
It’s amazing how much better we feel when we share our worries with others. Perhaps a friend or a family member who has had a similar experience can tell us how they dealt with it. We realize we aren’t alone.
Paul, one of Jesus’ followers, reminded the people to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV). We do that whenever we gather with our church family to learn about Jesus, worship God and pray together.
And we do that during Holy Week, the time leading to Jesus’ resurrection on Easter.
Loving God, as we enter Holy Week, grant us courage to face challenges. We know that you are with us every step of the way. May we be present for one another. We love you. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Palm/Passion Sunday — Triumphant God, we echo the shouts of “Hosanna!” as we relive the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and all that waits in the week to come. Like that first parade so long ago, we may have different ideas of what kind of a messiah we long to welcome. Many of us seek one who thinks like we think, who will wield power to meet our longings. As we give our gifts this morning, may we be of the heart and mind of submission. You know better than us the messiah that is needed for your kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Luke 19:28-40 & Luke 22:14-23:56)
When Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, his disciples accompanied him. Yet, Peter, James and John fell asleep and Peter denied him, leaving Jesus very much alone.
When we decide that we must do something, when we realize that our life’s purpose is bigger than just what feels good or comes easily, we find a source of power that most people never discover.
Jesus had other options. He had places he could go to hide, other paths he could take. He could let the heat die down.
But he walked the path of courage. He knew his God was with him, even if he was left to die alone on a cross.
Courage is borrowed heart. It’s leaning on God, leaning on one another, when our own faith runs dry. It’s why we say the Apostles’ Creed together, sing together and worship together. When you need it, you can borrow my heart, and when I need it, I can borrow some of yours.
Adapted from the Rev. Brian Erickson, senior pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama, www.trinitybirmingham.com. Used by permission.