April 5, 2020: Palm Sunday

Let us pray: Dear Savior, on this glorious day we once again join to celebrate Your kingship over us.  We join to open our hearts to Your gift of forgiveness for all sins and Your triumph over all evil.  You alone are worthy of praise all the time—no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in.  So, despite the condition of the world, may our praise make this Palm Sunday a special one for us and most of all for You!  Amen


TEXT:  Matthew 21: 1-11

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

          By my count we have 7 people in our congregation who can remember a Palm Sunday during WWII.  I pick that time because during that war the nation and the world were in turmoil—much like today.  When bombs are dropping, armies are on the move, and people are cooped-up, celebrating Christ’s kingship and grace might seem out-of-place.  Those 7 people lived through such a time.  And yet, I would submit that it is especially at such moments that we can and should celebrate all the more!  For Palm Sunday isn’t about “happy times” or a church festooned with palms and other delights to the eye.  It is about honoring something and Someone bigger and much more grandiose than visual decorations.  It is about Christ and the hope and comfort that only the Savior can bring.


          Every one of you knows the basic facts of Palm Sunday.  You know that it was before Passover and pilgrims from across the empire had streamed into Jerusalem for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.  In fact Jerusalem’s population swelled so much that they had to rope off a huge area around the walls for the tent city of such people!  You know about the little colt that Christ told His disciples to fetch and how it all worked out.  You know the prophecy of this from Zechariah—and now was the fulfillment of it!—Yes, God ALWAYS keeps His promises.  You know about the spontaneous eruption of praise from the people and of course, the palm fronds waving in the air.  The Hebrew word: “Hosanna!” means “Save.”  So by shouting their hosannas they were really saying: “Save us, Lord!”  They anticipated God’s salvation in the form of the promised Messiah.  And save them He did a few days later.  God did it in a way that no one expected.  He did it through the cruel cross followed by the glorious empty tomb.  Sins were forgiven by Christ’s death.  Dead hearts were re-awakened by an empty tomb and a risen Lord.  What a heady moment in time!


          So, which Palm Sunday service would you rather attend—that first one outside Jerusalem, or the one today?  Would you prefer celebrating something that hasn’t yet occurred like they did?  Or knowing exactly what this day is entirely about?  Despite our current situation, I prefer today!!!  I prefer hindsight to foresight.  That’s because Easter is the prism through which God’s glory can be and is fully revealed.

          If the corona virus wasn’t impacting us and the church was full today, we’d all be happy and satisfied.  But would Palm Sunday be any less celebratory than it is today?   Would Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem to bring salvation to His people be more meaningful than His entrance into our hearts today?  We as Christians need to focus on today’s timelessness.  In WWII Palm Sunday was never a “downer” even for those Christians ducking bullets on the front lines. Same story, same Savior, same message of hope and joy.  Yes, Christ is worthy of everyone’s “hosannas” at all times. It is about the weight of worry being lifted off our shoulders.  It is freedom to voice the faith God has put in our hearts.  It is about the “lightness of being” which only Christ can bring.  And we all have it, right here, right now—even if you’re worshipping in your p.j’s!  For God still sees you, hears your praises, and is glorified by it all.

          Today is glorious because we get to join with the angel hosts in honoring Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the Savior of the world.  May that inner glow  never be diminished!  Time cannot diminish it.  Space cannot diminish it.  Wars cannot diminish it.  And neither can national lock-downs.  For our God is All Powerful and most importantly, All Loving!  And so, today we too shout: “Hosanna!”, save us, dear Lord!  Yes, our Lord reigns!  Let all the earth rejoice! Amen THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH…..

Pastor Thomas H. Fox

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