Palm Sunday Devotional: Behold Thy King cometh…. (from the King’s English blog)

April 12, 2014

Back in 2012, the Rev. Glen Scrivener who blogs at the King’s English posted a wonderful and rich reflection on Palm Sunday, Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  He first examines the prophecies foretelling such an event, and then comments on the nature of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem and what it signifies in terms of His Kingship:

[…] This coming to Jerusalem is often called “The Triumphal Entry”.  To call it such makes the comparison with the Roman Triumph ceremonies where conquering commanders and kings returned from battle to receive glory and honour.

Christ’s “triumphal entry” is different.  For a start, His choice of transport is a deliberate subversion of kingly expectation.  He does ride into town. He is a king.  But He’s not that kind of king.

He is the lowly King.  And He doesn’t come returning from battle – He’s heading for His death.  In five days He would be strung up on a Roman cross.  And the crowd that sings Hosanna will soon cry “Crucify Him!”

No-one has captured the irony better than Samuel Crossman in My Song is Love Unknown.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Jesus knows that this is their destiny.  And His.  Yet He rides on.

And perhaps the deepest irony comes when we consider their benediction: “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”  The saying is from Psalm 118.  As we turn to the original context, notice where the blessed recipient of these hosannas ends up…

“Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD:  we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD. 27 God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light:  bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.”  (Psalm 118:26-27)

The Blessed One is the Coming One.  He comes in the name of the LORD.  But where does He come to?

There is a welcoming committee who greet Him “out of the house of the LORD” – that is, the temple.  And when they eventually get hold of Him, what do they say?  “Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.”

This Coming LORD is the Blessed One, but as He’s received by the people He becomes a Human Sacrifice!  The King is bound upon the altar.

What kind of triumphal entry is this?  It is a procession which leads not to a stage, not to a throne, but to a cross.  This is the meekness of our LORD and King, whose glory is His sacrifice.  This is truly love unknown.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

I strongly recommend reading the whole devotional.


Bp. Eric Menees’ reflection on the Collect for Palm Sunday

April 12, 2014

From the Soundings blog. Bishop Eric Menees is the diocesan bishop of the Anglican diocese of San Joaquin:

 

This weeks collect opens up Holy Week for us in a powerful way. Passion Sunday is full of just that – passion and suffering – in particular the suffering of Jesus. I remember as a young man in high school, our youth group would often put the passion narrative into a play setting in which we would dramatically read the parts…I know, nothing new… but I’ve got to say that as I read the part of the narrator, or the guards, or Jesus the words came alive for me. In preparation, the youth group would spend time studying the passion narrative in the gospels, and on more than one occasion I found myself weeping. That seems to me an appropriate response when we not only think about Jesus’ suffering, but also about whom he suffered for – namely me and you!

Almighty and everliving God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

As we enter into Holy Week, this Collect asks God, who sent His son to suffer for us, to help us become more like him, and that He will give us patience to stay the course with Jesus as we are invited into the Living Word.

Thanks be to God for our liturgies over Holy Week. If we will allow ourselves to be, we are invited to be with Jesus as he enters into Jerusalem and shout “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is he who comes in the name of The Lord.” We are invited to be with Jesus at the Last Supper and hear those words as if spoken for the first time: “Take, eat, this is my body given for you!” We are invited to have Jesus wash our feet and be reminded that the greatest among us are servants. We are invited to wait with Jesus through the night as he prays. We are invited to sit at the foot of the cross and hear those amazing words “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” And finally, we are invited to the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.

To be truly present in these liturgies; to meditate upon the sacrificial love of God for us; to know that our sins – not only the sins of those in the past, but mine and yours as well – are what nailed Jesus to the Cross where he bore the wrath of God for us…well, to do all that we desperately need God’s help. So we pray: “Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection…” And to that I say…AMEN

I pray you all a very blessed Holy Week!


Ebola virus update

April 12, 2014

–This article tells of promising developments in the scientific search for a medication to treat Ebola virus.

–This article describes the work of a charity Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to create city maps for Guinea so that the epidemic can be monitored through canvassing.

–This article documents survivors of the disease.

–This article says that cases have been confirmed in only two nations, Guinea and Liberia.  Cases have been reported in Sierra Leone, Mali and Ghana, but the WHO says none has been confirmed.

I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. Psalm 31:7

Gracious Lord, how courteous You are.  We thank You for the advances that have been made. We bless Your holy name. We bless Your name Jehovah Raphe. We bless the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, our Advocate. We bless the name of Your Holy Spirit, our Comforter.
More mercies, Lord! More mercies. Amen.


Syrian chemical weapons

April 12, 2014

From the BBC:

Time is fast running out for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons stocks, the international body in charge of their destruction says.

Syria promised to hand over its remaining stocks of chemical weapons ingredients by 27 April.

The UN has set a deadline of 30 June for their full destruction, in a process that should take about 60 days.

From The Jerusalem Post:

The Assad regime used a nonlethal chemical weapon on March 27 on the outskirts of Damascus, an Israeli security source said Monday.

Our Father in heaven,
You are infinite in every way and in every realm. You transcend time and space. Your wisdom is beyond measure. You have wisdom that has never deployed in any way. We ask for an outpouring of Your wisdom in Syria for the elimination of all of the chemical weapons. Your kingdom come and Your will be done in Syria as it is in heaven. Amen.


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