April 11, 2019
Dear members of our Calvary family:
Did you ever hear the one about when the guy says, "I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news..."? Of course you have. It’s a classic vaudeville set-up line. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. Did you ever notice how when you look at the original events of Holy Week what happened from Palm Sunday to Good Friday is almost like one of those "Good news and Bad news" jokes?
The good news is that Jesus Christ reached the peak of his popularity that Holy Week, riding in a triumphal procession into the holy city of Jerusalem. There was a big, spontaneous parade, which was prophetically predicted in the Old Testament. There were adoring masses, thronging crowds, everybody turned out, the disciples were very impressed, and the Pharisees and the Sadducees realized that they had underestimated this simple Galilean teacher. Riding this crest of public approval Jesus rode that donkey right to the Temple, the very center of the Jewish faith, and began to teach and preach.
From Sunday to Thursday Jesus was unstoppable. His enemies tried to trick him several times -- but to no avail; each time he turned the tables on them and exposed their treachery. They thought about arresting him, but were afraid of what the people would do. No one even seriously complained when he overturned the tables of the money-changers.
And of course, in this same period Jesus set the tone for his church, washing his own disciples feet and telling them (and us), "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." He instituted the Lord’s Supper and provided us the power to be his disciples, doing his work, in this world. The good news is from Sunday to Thursday Jesus was unstoppable.
So, what’s the bad news? On Thursday he was betrayed and arrested and on Friday he was hung on a cross and killed. Today the palms - tomorrow the passion -- good news and bad news - but it’s not a joke. There’s nothing funny about the fact that the same people who shouted "Hosanna" “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord,” on Sunday shouted "Crucify him," just five days later. Everybody’s hero became an object of scorn and hatred, a bloody sacrifice.
Is there anything we can learn from this? Don’t be like those who cheered one day and jeered the next. Don’t wave your palm branches today, then forget all about Jesus and his and your mission tomorrow. Be faithful and see yourself as Jesus’ loyal follower every day, every moment, of your life. May we take that to heart as we begin another Holy Week.
But also focus on the love of Jesus who willingly went the way to the cross. That shows his love and concern for all of us. Rejoice that Jesus paid for all of your sins with his death on the cross. Know that you are forgiven in him.
Keep in your prayers Elmer Becker who is seriously ill and in the ICU at Banner Desert. We ask the Lord to grant him a return to health, if that is his will. We also rejoice together with Kimberly and Samuel Grimm as the Lord blessed them with the birth of a baby boy yesterday. We give praise to our Lord for this gift of new life.
I look forward to seeing you in church as we begin another Holy Week. A reminder that, after the service on Sunday morning, we will have a burning of the mortgage ceremony. Following Sunday School and the Voters’ Meeting we will have a potluck in celebration. Those attending are asked to bring a side dish, salad or dessert to pass. Turkey and ham will be provided for sandwiches. Lord’s blessings to all of you.
Pastor Martin Spaude