I would like for you to consider the word desperate. What does the word desperate mean to you? Have you ever felt desperate about something? For the sake of someone that you love, or yourself what or how much would you be willing to risk?
There are times when I question something that seems to be so disjointed at the beginning, can in some way coalesce into something that makes sense. This was the way I was feeling when I read the lessons appointed for today.
Here we find Adam hiding from God because he was naked and so was Eve each blaming the other. The serpent tricked Eve into eating fruit from the forbidden tree, (which we know as the tree of Knowledge), and her eyes were opened to the world.
We declare … what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes… concerning the word of life … so that you also may have fellowship … with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.
We don’t know much about Thomas – in fact John is the only Evangelist to mention him. But, from John we learn that after Lazarus had died, and Jesus decided to travel deep into enemy territory … it was Thomas who boldly says to the other, more reluctant Disciples: “Let us go, too – and die with Jesus.” When Christ tells the Disciples at the Last Supper that they know where He is going, it is Thomas who interrupts with: “No, Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
The church preschoolers had been learning about the new life Christ’s resurrection initiated, and they were about to make their Easter presentation to the entire congregation. At the right moment, the teacher shepherded her fidgeting charges to the top of the chancel steps, explaining that she had asked each child to bring in a plastic Easter egg containing something that exemplified this wonderful new life. Each of the five-year-olds held a large plastic egg across the chest. Parents and grandparents held cameras at the ready. The “presentation” was about to begin.
At the risk of appearing a little self-righteous I feel the need to say something.
I need to say that it makes me quite sad that many of the churches in the Christian world are not gathered together tonight to recognize the origin of two very significant events in the life of Christ. Unfortunately, they are not gathering together to commemorate the night that Our Lord had His last supper with his disciples. Perhaps, for many it is only about Easter. For me, I need to go through the range of emotions that are Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in order to truly appreciate the joy of Easter. How can we get to Easter without all of the events that take us there?
Today, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the week known by many as Holy Week, it is a week filled with emotion, expectation, crowds, excitement, celebrations, surprise, shock, terror, panic, denial, deep sorrow and grief. Truly an emotional rollercoaster. Things were going on in Jerusalem that week 2000 years ago way more significant than any one present could have ever imagined. Most missed the significance because they had their own agendas. They were part of God’s plan and didn’t know it. Isn’t that the way it works?
Ten years ago on Larry King Live, a well-known Christian musician was telling his life story and it was exactly the kind of story pastors either love or hesitate to tell from the pulpit. As King peered at him through his owlish glasses, the musician told of being raised in a warm and loving Christian family and of discovering in high school that he was blessed both with a vibrant faith and with a rare musical gift. Eventually, shaking off the dust of his little town, he took his faith and his keyboard and headed off toward the bright lights of Nashville, aiming at a career in gospel music.
It has been about three years since our beloved Golden Retriever, MacKenzie died from cancer. She was about eleven years old and was loved by all. She had this wonderful disposition and would run up to greet anyone and then by sitting next to them would lean into them, looking to be petted.
If there’s one thing we learn from today’s Epistle to the Roman’s it’s this: We are not in control. We are in control of some things, of course; however, we are certainly not in control when we consider how insignificant we are in comparison to the size, power, and problems in the universe around us. In the end, though, we are are thankful that God does what is best for each and everyone of us.
Many years ago, February 18, 2018, you were baptized into the faith of Jesus Christ. Your parents have done this for you by virtue of their commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They have expressed their faith in Jesus Christ and promised to live in such a way that you would come to learn of that faith by their example. Not by their words, but by their example. You’ll have questions and they can address those or send you to a pastor to help with those questions. And on this day, I had the privilege of being the person that conducted your baptism.