March 19, 2018
By Mobby Larson.
The Rev. Dr. Mobby Larson is a retired pastor, having served several churches in the New London Association.
“Hosanna! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!” (NRSV, Mark 11:9)
We love parades—the excitement of the crowd, the rousing music, children running back and forth, celebrities waving to their supporters, adults able to set aside everyday cares and simply celebrate. There’s nothing like a parade to bring us all together. There’s plenty of time tomorrow to stress out and worry.
On the day we call Palm Sunday we hear of a great parade. Yes, it’s a familiar story; we hear it every year. And yes, we know that this parade is not going to be all balloons and cotton candy. We know that controversy, confrontation, and the cross lie ahead. Some of our churches put less emphasis on the parade than on the coming Passion.
But let’s not let the parade pass us by! Can we put ourselves into the story back then?
We’ve heard of this man Jesus, the unlikely but profound rabbi from the backwaters of the Galilee. We heard he was a really different kind of teacher, one who understands common people like us. We heard that he cares about lepers, sinners, women and children. We even heard rumors of miracles.
Who is this man? They said he is coming into Jerusalem today. If we hurry, there’s a chance we could see him! Hurry!
And we get caught up in the crowd, the excitement. This man is special; do you think he might…? I mean, some people are wondering if he is actually the Messiah! Is he here to save us? Hosanna! Hosanna!
And Jesus moves on. The palm branches are left in the road; the crowds disperse. And Jesus moves on to die.
Why the parade? Does Jesus need this acclamation? Or do we need it? Who is blessing whom, here?
We do know the rest of the story—the supper, the arrest, the crucifixion. And we know that next Sunday, after suffering and death, we will truly get to celebrate. But that story has no parade, no exulting crowds, only a few astonished women and some mourning friends. They didn’t get it. We don’t get it; but we will celebrate again. Every year we hear the same stories; and, God willing, each year we might understand them just a bit more.
The mystery of Christ is far beyond our knowing. But today, let’s join the parade and enjoy a glimpse of victory and glory!
Holy God, God of stories, God of glory, God of mystery, thank you for parades, for glimpses of Jesus, and the hope and glory he brings. Smile on us as we watch the parade, and help us to understand. Hosanna!
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers of Intercession:
- for those living in fear, suffering, or grieving due to s series of intentional explosions that have occurred this past week in Texas.
- those suffering or grieving after a bridge collapsed in Florida on March 16.
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- for the blessings of new friends, new learning, and renewed Spirit found at Super Saturday on March 17.
- for the Spring Equinox and the change of season on March 20.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Asylum Hill Congregational UCC
Broadview Community UCC
Faith Congregational Church UCC
First Church of Christ in Hartford, UCC
This Week in History:
Mar. 24, 1998 (20 years ago): a school shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas, leaves 5 dead and 10 wounded. The shooters, a 13 year-old and an 11 year-old student, were later caught with a stockpile of weapons, including three semi-automatic rifles. According to Arkansas laws at the time, the boys were tried and adjudicated as minors. They were released on their 21st birthdays which occurred in 2005 and 2007 respectively.
Starting With Scripture:
March 19, 2018