Sunday, April 9, 2017

Making America Good Again: Palm Sunday

My heart is breaking this Palm Sunday for the two Coptic Christian communities in  Egypt whose worship was interrupted with violence and death.  ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings that have killed a total of 43 (at last report, but that number is climbing) and wounded at least 100.
Blessed Lord Jesus, be with our Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt.  Welcome into your presence those who have died.  Heal those who are injured.  Comfort those who survived in their grief.  Lord Jesus, You taught us to pray for our enemies and forgive those who persecute us.  It is hard to do!  Help us to pray for those who caused this destruction.  By our witness, may they turn their hearts and minds to You.  By our love, may they know Your love.  In The Lord's Prayer, you also taught us to pray, "Deliver us from evil."  Deliver us from the evil in our own hearts and in the hearts of others.  We pray that one day every knee will bend and every tongue will confess that You are the Lord God.  In that day may the world be delivered from evil.  In the Triumphant Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.
On Palm Sunday, we remember Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. People had heard of the miracles Jesus had done, including raising Lazarus from the dead.  Crowds gathered to see him, praise him, and find out more about him.  Here is the account from the Gospel of Luke (19:29-45):

When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” 

So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 

As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” 

As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, 

“If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

Isn't it time we recognized Jesus?

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