Tag Archives: Mark

At least the winter weather won’t interfere with a journey through ancient scriptures

I know, I just could not resist that we are still in the midst of one of the craziest winters here in the middle of the US: snow, ice, more snow, spring temperatures, fog, even freezing fog (I call frog), rain, snow, and more. 

During the past several years, we have had extraordinarily mild Midwest winters.  In fact the meteorologist this week said for three years the total snow accumulation of those years is now less than we have had in the past two months.

Still, these cold weeks has kept me to my itinerary of reading the Bible over the course of the year.  I have now completed Genesis, Romans, Isaiah, and Mark.  This week I added Exodus and tomorrow I Thessalonians.

Earlier I mentioned that it is interesting how the Old Testament and the New Testament books are being paired.  Genesis is the beginning of the Israelite story and Romans is the beginning of the Christian church.  I began to understand.

The second pairing has been Isaiah and the gospel of Mark.  In my understanding, Isaiah is the Israelite’s manual of prophecy, which tells of the coming Messiah, a savior of the faithful people.  Mark was written to the Jewish people as an argument that Jesus is that expected Messiah.

Now here is another issue.  This winter weather has prohibited me to join in a conversation with others.  The planned Bible study with others making this same journey had to be canceled due to the road conditions. (I suppose I am lucky that I can post my ideas as I read and others can react.)

I have to admit that reading Isaiah was challenging.  I am realizing that I need tour guides and find them in the pages of the study Bibles. 

For years I have used the Life Application Study Bible (NIV), but this time I am using the Wesley Study Bible (NRSV). And I have even turned to the Archeological Study Bibleas I believe I mentioned previously.

Reading through Isaiah, though, is must more difficult for someone who has limited knowledge of ancient history.  The study notes are my tour guides!  

Not only am I learning the history of ancient people, I am learning more about John Wesley and how he read these same scriptures. I am ending up getting two journeys in one.

(For another side note:  I take notes.  Not just a few, I take lots of notes that include what I am learning, what I am thinking, and now what Wesley is thinking.  Sometimes I wonder what I am going to do with the volumes this is going to create.  Still, I have discovered I do go back once and a while to check on something that struck me as interesting, confusing or even profound.)

Reading scripture takes one back in time.  I am reminded how different life must have been in ancient times.  

For instance, this morning in the early chapters of Exodus, the plagues that God delivered upon Egypt are being listed. As often as I have heard about the plagues, I did not realize that there is a line in many referring to the Egyptian sorcerers or magicians.

According to the scriptures, found in Exodus 7-9, the plagues could be re-created through the arts of the sorcerers and magicians. But then, as the list of plagues continues, these arts fail.  The sorcerers and magicians begin to see the plagues of “the finger of God” (Exodus 8:16-19).   

Even though the Pharaoh continued to deny the power of God as demonstrated through Moses and his brother Aaron, his own sorcerers and magicians had to admit they could not duplicate the powers.

Reading the scriptures is not a leisurely trip, but one that challenges one.  I am so glad that I have the study notes to help, but it is also making me wonder what I might still be missing.

I have resources, but I am thinking about all the classes I took in literature.  The truth is that I never did have a course on reading ancient literature.  Now I am wishing I had more skill in ancient literature.

As I was growing up, I read everything I could get my hands on in our small elementary school.  I remember getting hooked on mythology and read everything I could about mythology.  

Admittedly, that was maybe 55 years ago, and my memory for details is not good.  And in all that reading, there was nothing about the Egyptian gods or even other ancient cultures—it was Greek and Latin mythology.

I need to hire tour guides that specialize in ancient literature.  The Archeological Study Bibleis a major help, but it does not fully develop my understanding of the symbolism that is buried in the ancient scripture.  

(I welcome any suggestions for websites or resources that I can locate to improve this journey.)

Needless to say it is too early for me to draw any conclusions about this journey at this point, but I know that I am finding surprises in the stories and I am seeing the timeless truths of humanity.  

What I do not understand is how we do not directly teach or share the literary themes of the Bible and parallel them to the literature of our own culture.  

Humanity has a tendency to repeat behaviors that complicate our lives.  The timeless themes of the scripture just reinforce the simplicity of Bible’s good news:  “God loves us so much that he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him has eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Add to that the commandments that Jesus taught us in Matthew 22:  

36 “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being,[a] and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

Life can be so much simpler if we could just accept the truths Jesus taught us with these two commandments.  I cannot stop but to frame so many horrors in our lives thought that one primary thought:  Love one another as you want to be loved.

Just think about some of the worst human experiences and test it against that parameter:  What if we loved each other like we want to be loved?

  • Would there be gun violence?
  • Would there be homophobic attitudes?
  • Would there have been one neighbor arguing with another over a fence?
  • Would there be a bully in school?
  • Would there be road rage?

The list goes on into infinity.  Why even looking back through ancient history, if the Israelites could have demonstrated that love for one another above all else, would there have been all the legendary battles, the vicious treatment of slaves or even slaves at all?

My journey through the ancient scriptures is not anywhere near over, and the wild winter weather is helping me stay on my itinerary for the journey.  The side trips through the study notes are adding new understanding to my experience.

And, as I resume my daily routines, the stories, and the lessons I discover are like snapshots that I look at over and over. I am finding surprises and I am finding truths that enrich my earthly journey.

Please join in my prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the scriptures

In which your faithful people

Mapped out the directions

For life eternal.

May the ancient words 

Reveal universal truths

So your love survives

Despite the detours people take.

May the stories of old

Guide today’s people

In ways to guide others

To love one another, too.

And as our journeys near completion

May the snapshots of our lives 

Serve as guides for future generations 

That they may know love always wins.

In the name of you the Father, the Son,

and the Holy Ghost, amen.

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Missouri Annual Conference Review

AC report 2013

This attached Power Point is today’s service.  Our lay delegate prepared and presented the service and summarized the conference experience while using a full-fledged program including scripture and music.  This is a first for the smaller churches in my appointment.  Thanks for the effort.


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Such a Long Wait and Now This!

given on Easter Sunday, March 31, 201

Scripture I:  Matthew 25;31-36 from the NLT

31 “But when the Son of Man[a] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[b] will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

Part A:  The Wait

            Reviewing the chronology of the Bible opens up such a different perspective towards Christianity’s development.  The timeline can create separation of historical events, but it also creates an understanding how critical faith is when battling evil influences.  In a way, studying the timeline creates hope.

            The 400-year gap between Malachi’s prophecies and the birth of the Messiah seems a long time to wait.  Finally the word was out and the faithful heard that the Messiah had arrived.  Some actually were able to meet Jesus face to face; some were healed and were raving over the powers of this man.  The change in lives all around the region was happening and word was spreading.  Finally, after waiting for 400 years, the King of the Jews was alive and with them!

Who would have thought that at the very time that Jesus was becoming well known to the people, the Jewish leaders were skeptical and feeling threatened.  Rather than recognize the truth of who Jesus is, they battled it.

We can relate to that.  Every time a major cultural shift occurs or some dramatic event happens or we experience a life-changing event personally, we face uncertainty.  Our fears bubble up and we find ourselves fighting the change that is thrust upon us.  We know that the change could be good, but it is so far from what we know and are comfortable with.

Jesus understands this.  And knowing the work to be done, knowing all as God knows all, he was aware was going on in the minds of the Jewish leaders and the political leaders of Rome.  Yet, he continues preaching, teaching, and healing.  The crowds continue to grow.  It is difficult to remain in the background.  The stories travel ahead of him, faster than his can.

After all the centuries of waiting for the Messiah, the three short years were coming to a climax.  And Jesus knows.  It is almost Passover week, the biggest holiday in the Jewish faith.  The story continues in Matthew 26:

1When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man[a] will be handed over to be crucified.”

Jesus says this right out loud to his Disciples.  They are still trying to understand the words Jesus just said about the final judgment and now he is saying he will be crucified.  Just imagine the confusion, the shock, even the fear.

Yet, Jesus, the Son of God, knew.  The gospel of Matthew continues:

At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him.

The 400-year wait for the Messiah has ended, and now in just these three short years of Jesus’ ministry, He is saying that He is going to be crucified!

The quiet, unassuming man that the people were flocking to hear, who teaches just one commandment, who heals people even raises them from the dead, who reaches out to everybody in love whether Jew or Gentile, is saying to those closest to him that he is going to be killed.  Preposterous!

But Jesus knew and now it was time to demonstrate who he was in a way that others would see and marvel.  The best time was a holiday, Passover, because everybody who was anybody was in Jerusalem for the festival.  The timing is now!

In the NLT Study Notes of the chronological Bible, the story is presented in parallel, also.  After telling the disciples what is to happen, another twist to the story is developing also included in Mark 14:1-2:

“But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”

The study note for verse 2 reads:

The Jews were preparing to observe Passover, a time of remembrance for families to celebrate when the blood of lambs had saved their ancestors.  But some of the religious leaders had another agenda.  Jesus had disrupted their security, revealed their sham, and opposed their authority.  Now they would put him away.  But the world is controlled by our all-wise God, not puny politicians.  God would turn the religious leaders’ murder plot into the greatest blessing that mankind would ever know.  Another Lamb would be slain, and his blood would save all people.  When grief or disaster seem to be dominating, remember that your life is in God’s hands and remember what Jesus did for you. (Emphasis added, p. 1453)

When we are suffering, when we face our challenges, we must remember that God is with us.  He never gives us more than we can handle; and today we know evil lurks all around us, even within our closest ring of family and friends.

Scripture II:  Luke 23:26-38

26 As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene,[b] happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. 28 But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ 30 People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’[c] 31 For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?[d]

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. 33 When they came to a place called The Skull,[e] they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”[f] And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.[g]

35 The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. 37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Sermon:  . . . and Now This?

Part B

            Yes, the story continues and includes evil and treachery.  Jesus is betrayed, arrested, tried, and sentenced to death.  The story seems so short after such a long wait.  How could this be?  For four hundred years we waited to see the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy, not to mention the 2,000+ years before Malachi.  The stories told through the generation could not end like this.

Yet, woven into the prophecies of the Old Testament is the foreshadowing of the Messiah’s life.  The prediction of betrayal, the prediction of death, and the prediction of defeating death are also in the prophecies, but those stories are not surfacing in the excitement Jesus’ work the past three years.  And then there is the holiday—Passover.

Unfortunately the story continues right through a trial, on through the horrible journey to the Golgotha, the blood dripping from His brow, the nailing of his hands to the cross—even his feet.  The long 400-year wait is coming to an end like this?  How can this story end like this?

The story does continue, the death on the cross is not the end of the story; it is the beginning of the new life.  Returning to Luke, let’s hear more of the story:

The Death of Jesus

44 By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”[h] And with those words he breathed his last.

47 When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow.[k] 49 But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.

For 400 hundred years, the Jewish people waited.  What they expected was a powerful display of power, possibly wars fought, possibly a coronation, but now this!  This crucifixion is not the ending to the reign of a king, it is the lowest form of punishment for petty criminals.  Is this the way the story ends?  No.

Scripture III:  Luke 23:50-24:8

The Burial of Jesus

50 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, 51 but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. 52 He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. 54 This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation,[l] as the Sabbath was about to begin.

55 As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.

The Resurrection

24 But very early on Sunday morning[m] the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man[n] must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

We acknowledge Jesus as the son of man, but more importantly the Son of God.  The story continues even if the son of man is dead because it is the Son of God who lives.  What lurks ahead is yet unknown.  What happens during our week may be planned, but nothing guarantees that it will go, as we want it to go.  God is in charge.  If Jesus can trust God, then we can, too.  The end result is the gift of eternal life with God.  And that is the story that never ends, it is why we come together to celebrate the life of Jesus Christ this Easter morning.

Dear God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

We celebrate the gift of Your Son today. 

We acknowledge His work during those short three years.

As we share in the warmth of our Christian family,

     help us to strengthen our resolve to love one another.

As we face daily challenges at home, at work, or at play

     help us to identify evil and turn away from its clutch.

As we look into the faces of family, friends, co-workers,

          and strangers, help us to see You.

 As we offer food, clothing, shelter, and love to those in need,

     let the world see what a difference Your grace makes

     and how loving one another transforms lives.  –Amen


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Everybody Loves a Parade, Don’t They

given on Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012–no fooling!

Who doesn’t love a parade?  All the major holidays are connected to parades.  The list includes the Rose Bowl Parade on New Years Day, St. Patrick Day parades, Easter (Bonnet or Hat) Parades, Memorial Day parades, Fourth of July parades, Thanksgiving Day parade, and of course Christmas parades with Santa as the feature.  And these parades are just the most recognizable, but around our area there is the annual college homecoming parade and even the Chilhowee’s fair parade.

During Passover celebrations, communities filled with visitors.  There was a carnival style atmosphere.  People were everywhere, and the temple was busy with extra venders and spectators.  The Jewish festival was a major event.

So why did Jesus, who has traveled the region by foot for three years, suddenly decide to ride into the middle of all the festivities on a donkey?  Why did he decide to have a parade?  Who was going to be watching the parade?  What purpose would the parade serve?  How will the people react?

In literature studies, readers become sensitive to imagery in the story.  What could names, locations, colors, or items really be representing?  Is the author trying to express a more significant message than the literal words are stating on the page?  Reading literary analysis often adds another dimension to the theme; and reading the Bible that was written in such an entirely different cultural and historical context than what we live in today takes additional analysis.

Jesus’ ride is referred to as a “triumphal ride” into Jerusalem.  For three years he has been walking the dirt roads of the region making an impression on those who joined him, who heard him speak, or who experienced his healing.  Why would he decide to change his style and ride in on a donkey in a parade?

The answer lies in the prophetic words of Zechariah 9.  The answer is found by studying the Word and the analysis.  As we read through the scripture Zechariah 9:9-13, did you realize the significance of the parade?  Maybe your understanding is connected to your acceptance of Christ’s role as our Savior, our spiritual king.  Maybe you have already studied it and it is clear to you that the parade was simply part of the Big Picture.  Maybe you had never connected the two and this is new information.

The Palm Sunday celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem is one more method to keep us centered on the good news.  The study notes from the New Interpreters Bible carefully outlines the prophetic verse nine:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.

To the Jewish onlookers, who have been thoroughly schooled in the Old Testament prophecies, seeing Jesus ride in on a donkey would have immediately told them that yes, indeed, Jesus was the Messianic King they expected to arrive and deliver them from their lowly state.

In the next verse, Zechariah 9:10, the image of the Messianic King is defined:

10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
The battle bow shall be cut off.
He shall speak peace to the nations;
His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.’

Jesus is arriving on a donkey, not a horse.  He is not using a chariot that was considered an image of warfare.  Jesus, as the NIB states, “. . . knows that salvation comes to earth only through deflating the self, not through horse power.”  Therefore Jesus rides in on a donkey, a symbol of peace, not of military might.

This kingly image was not what the Jewish people were expecting.  Yet, the parade was placing the truth right there in front of them.  There was cheering, praises, palm branches waving, and the crowds following him.  For the Jewish still uncertain of whom Jesus was, the answer was being demonstrated to them.   Surely they now would believe.

Now remember, everybody loves a parade.  What if you were not Jewish and you heard the noise that was coming from the street?  Wouldn’t you hurry to see what was going on?  A parade can draw huge crowds.  People who would not ordinarily attend a forum, a convention, a lecture, or any other formal setting may very likely be drawn to a parade.  Put yourself in that position for a few minutes.

Never before have you considered following a religion.  All your life you have been a Roman citizen and followed those customs.  If you have a religious belief, you probably considered yourself a pagan.  Of course that word sounds so negative, you simply have grown up with the Roman gods.  You know them because their stories have explained the life circumstances around you:

  • Apollo was the God of the Sun, poetry, music and oracles,
  • Bacchus was the God of Wine,
  • Ceres was the Goddess of Agriculture,
  • Cupid was the God of Love,
  • Diana was the Goddess of Hunting,
  • Fauna was the Goddess of Animals,
  • Flora was the Goddess of Flowers and Spring.
  • Fortuna was the Goddess of Fortune,
  • Janus was the God of Doors and beginnings and endings,
  • Juno was the Goddess of Marriage,
  • Jupiter aka Jove was the King of the Gods and the God of the sky and rain,
  • Mars was the God of War
  • Mercury was the Messenger of the Gods and of Commerce and Finance,
  • Minerva was the Goddess of Wisdom, the City, Education, Science and War,
  • Neptune was the God of the Sea,
  • Pluto was the God of the Underworld,
  • Saturn was the God of Harvest and Agriculture,
  • Venus was the Goddess of Love and Beauty,
  • Vesta was the Goddess of the Hearth and the Roman state, and
  • Vulcan was the God of Fire, the Forge and Blacksmiths.

[Accessed on March 31, 2012 at http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-gods/list-of-roman-gods.htm.]


And this is just a list of the major gods and goddesses of the Roman pagan religion.  There was a god or goddess identified for any facet of human life that needed explaining.  I expect it was a very complicated religion.

Yet the gospel of Mark was particularly interested in telling the good news to those Romans who were listening and becoming Christians.  His inclusion of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem is almost word for word of that found in Matthew.  Even the Romans knew the importance of a parade, so they were in the crowd, too.  I am sure they were asking questions of the others trying to figure out what it all meant.  For some, the openness of the event may have served as the final argument for becoming a Christian.

Now Luke presents the triumphal entry as evidence to Theophilus and other non-Christians.  Jesus is portrayed as more authoritative than in the other versions.  Luke states it like this:

. . . and it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat.  Loose it and bring it here.  And if anyone asks you, “Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”  (Luke 19:29-31)

Luke took on the responsibility of carefully and solidly explaining Jesus’ actions to those who did not have a Jewish background, who may or may not have been Romans, or who were Gentiles.  Yet, in the city of Jerusalem the people walking the streets, living there, visiting, or working, the parade of this man on a donkey grabbed everybody’s attention.

The new Christians were there.  They were stepping out of the shadows, so to speak, and raising palms to honor this man.  Here was one man who was so compassionate, who was healing anyone’s affliction, and who was teaching such a simple way of life that sounded so appealing.   Many had only heard of him, and today he was riding a donkey right down the streets, unafraid of the non-believer nor even the Pharisees or the Romans.

In John’s gospel, the report of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem is rather brief and to the point.  John wrote his gospel to the new Christians and to those just now beginning to be interested.  He focused on the parade a bit differently.  He focused on the reactions of the people following Jesus and the disciples:

. . . when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, [they] took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:  “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  The King of Israel!”  (John 12:12-13)

And John did not stop with his explanation of how the crowd reacted.  He continues on to tell how the peoples’ reception of Jesus on the donkey triggered an even deeper understanding in his disciples:

. . . His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered what these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.  (John 12:16)

Yes, everybody does love a parade.  There is excitement, anticipation, and open conviction.  Here was one man who was quietly moving around the area spreading the good news.  He was sharing with everybody—Jew, Gentile, Pagan or other—that life on earth could be life in God’s kingdom.  Life that had for centuries, even millennia, been difficult could be so delightful if we follow one simple rule:  Love one another.

Why not use a parade to spread the word?  If Jesus came through today, riding on a donkey, would you run out to join in?  Would you be a believer who was so excited that you lifted up a palm—or flag– to wave in support of him?  Would you bring as many palms in your hands as you could so you could share them with others, put some down on the ground so the donkey could walk on them, and even have some to wave in triumph yourself?

Today, Palm Sunday, we should have a parade.  Instead, we quietly sit inside, talk about the Palm Sunday’s of our past, of how Easter will be a busy day, or whether or not the family is coming in for the Easter weekend.  Today’s palms are here for you to share.  Take them, wave them, and keep them with you during the week.  The palms had a role in the original Palm Sunday; let it have a role in your life this week.

Dear Almighty, all-knowing God,

Thank you for your son.

Thank you for your grace.

Thank you for all the love shared

by your faithful children.

Guide us in sharing our faith openly.

Speak to us encouragement

so we confidently can demonstrate faith.

See our palms raised in your glory;

See our palms folded in prayer;

and see our palms shading others with your love.  –Amen

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