Gratitude Day 250
Sat., Apr. 13, 2019
John 12:13 – They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Here’s a just a few things I’ve been pondering as we come into this weekend.
Spring, Please Come Back
You were here for a hot minute. And then, you disappeared. The snow is mostly gone. But the wind and cold? Bone-chilling. Can you please make a guest appearance again? And stay longer this time?
Be Inspired by a Young Person
My nephew Kevin spent several days in Washington D.C. this week as part of a 4-H trip he was selected for. (He’s the guy in the front row with the bow tie.)
I picked him up from the Milwaukee airport and was part of his taxi ride home from the airport.
While in D.C., the youth were divided into small roundtable groups. In these groups, they developed potential legislative ideas which they presented to members of Congress or their staff people if the Congress members were not available.
It was so refreshing to hear a young person’s perspective on some of this. It’s easy for people to feel like the U.S. government is struggling right now. As I talked with Kevin, I was impressed. He’s insightful and articulate. He drew conclusions and ideas without my prompting.
The lesson for some of the rest of us? We can use our voices. We can be inspired to share ideas with our legislators. Will there be automatic change? No. Rather than being discouraged and only talk about the problems, we can be part of the change. Amen.
It’s Holy Week
Tomorrow, we celebrate Palm Sunday which leads us into the last week of Christ’s life. For years, this week has been my favorite week of the Christian year. We begin the week waving palms and just a few days later, are faced with the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life. I love going to the Last Supper and hearing Jesus’ last words to his closest group of friends. Yes, it’s agonizing to imagine those last six hours of Jesus’ life as he hung on the cross. But it’s because of this event, Christians can have hope. Hope for more. Hope that death doesn’t have the last word. Hope that Jesus conquers death and so much more.
Please, please take in the special worship services that surround this week. They can be very moving and highly symbolic. When we jump from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, we miss out on so much. Journey through the muck and arrive at Easter Sunday amazed again by this rich and deep story.
Speaking of Easter …
I don’t have a single Easter decoration out yet. For the many years I served as a pastor, I always made sure and had them out before Holy Week began. My timing is just off these days, as my schedule doesn’t completely revolve around Sunday worship as it did for YEARS. Maybe it’s OK those Easter decorations are still in a closet. I’m going to treasure bringing them out and thinking about Holy Week as I do.
If I can inspire you a bit today … truly think about Holy Week and what it means to you. A great exercise this week would be to read the last half of John’s Gospel. Amazingly, the last half of this Gospel is dedicated to the last week of Jesus’ life. Start with John 12 and read through the end of the Gospel, which is John 21. If you start today, this is 10 chapters to read in 9 days if you read every day between today and Easter Sunday. You only have to read two chapters on one of those days to complete all 10 before Easter! Give yourself an Easter gift and read through them. These chapters are rich with Jesus’ teachings, words and insights. Read the chapters slowly. Please don’t rush. See what is something new you can discover as you read them. And come into Easter morning excited to go to the tomb!
Let’s make this a great Holy Week!
For the opportunity of a deeply rich Holy Week, I am grateful.
Almighty God – we’ll wave palm branches this weekend and shout, “Hosanna!” But like the people of Jesus’ day, will we decide to turn away from you this week? Inspire us to dig a little deeper and be refreshed by the difficult stories of the last days of Jesus’ life. Amen.
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