Worship at Home for Sunday April 10 2022

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is Palm Sunday which celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus tells us that even if the people kept silent that the stones would sing out their praises. I love the thought of praising stones. Take a moment to hold a stone in your hand and imagine it praising God. Then sing your own praises too.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

Announcements:

  • Dorcas Sponsored Brunch to raise funds for Ukraine Relief on Palm Sunday, April 10 at 10am.
  • Church Council meeting on Monday at 6:30pm
  • Handbell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15pm
  • Chancel Choir at 6:30 on Wednesday
  • Maundy Thursday Worship at 6:30pm with Communion and Tenebrae
  • Good Friday Community Worship at Noon at St. Peter’s
  • Easter Sunrise Worship at 6:30 pm at the St. Peter’s UCC Cemetery
  • Baskets are in the back of the church to contribute to Ukraine Relief.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Palm Sunday from Around the World

Scripture Lessons: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Luke 19:28-40

Sermon: Praising Stones

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

The story of the Palm Sunday parade is a favorite for many of us. The thought of people waving palm branches and singing praises to God brings joy to our hearts. The story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is told in all four of the Gospels. But as you would expect, each writer tells the story a bit differently.

  • In John’s account says that Jesus found a young donkey at sat on it. (John 12:14)
  • In Luke, Mark and Matthew Jesus sends two disciples ahead to the village to find and untie the donkey. (Mark 11:1-3, Matthew 21:2-3, Luke 28:29-31)
  • John’s account of the triumphal entry is the only one that includes palm branches. (John 12:13)
  • In Mark and Matthew branches are cut and spread on the road along with people’s cloaks. (Mark 11:8, Matthew 21:8) What kind of branches is not clear.
  • In Mark, Matthew and John, the people sing Hosanna which is a Hebrew expression which means save. (Mark 11:9, Matthew 21:9, John 12:13)
  • Luke leaves out the branches and the Hosanna’s but keeps the cloaks and the singing. (Luke 19:35-37).

So, if you were listening to the Gospel reading for today and wondered “Where did the palm branches come from?” you will need to refer to John 12:13. However, the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem did happen and had a great deal of meaning for those who witnessed it. It means a lot for us today.

Think of the way in which sports teams enter the stadium to play. Owensville football games have a tradition of drummers beating loudly on drums announcing the entry of the football team. The team members walk in two by two and hold hands. The orange and black Owensville High School flag accompanies the team. These players are ready to play on the football and to do so as a team. This entry causes the Owensville fans to cheer loudly in support of their team.

The New International Version of the Bible (Zondervan Bible Publishers) that I like to read from refers to the Palm Sunday procession as the “Triumphal Entry”. How Jesus enters Jerusalem matters. Jesus and his disciples are very much aware of all the subtle cultural meaning to what is happening. Jesus rides an unridden colt. Rulers who ride colts come in peace. An unridden animal would be a preferred for offering to God. The direction which Jesus enters Jerusalem would be the same one that King David would have taken. Throwing cloaks on the ground would be a way of declaring Jesus as King. The crowd erupts into joyfully loud voices praising God and “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 118:26)

This declaration of Jesus as King is dangerous. Servants of the Roman Empire were always ready and willing to kill any opposition to their power. Concerned Pharisees encourage Jesus to silence the disciples. Jesus tells them that even the stones would cry out praises if the people were silent.

We need to decide who we will joyfully praise. The disciples (which in Luke’s Gospel includes more than just the 12) have chosen to praise God and Jesus as king. Human beings have an innate need to praise and follow a leader. If Jesus is not praised as king, something else will fill the void. If God is not our priority, other things will take up our time. Who will you praise in your life? Do not let the stones be the only ones praising God.
 

Prayer: Great and holy God, may we offer up praises to you and to our savior Jesus. May the Spirit inspire us to sing our praises joyfully on days in singing is easy and in times when we are troubled. Amen.
 

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Peggy, Mindy, Dave, David, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Jaqueline, Friends of Shelby, and for peace in the world in Ukraine and other war-torn places.
Prayers for Marcie as she grieves Porter’s passing.

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