Posts Tagged "Palm Sunday"

Sermon March 25: Left-Handed Power

Posted by on Mar 26, 2018 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon March 25: Left-Handed Power

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Left-Handed-Power_E.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church March 25, 2018 Palm Sunday Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture: Mark 11:1-11, Philippians 2:5-11   Response to the Word (Responsive) Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Word made flesh. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven! Open your eyes to see the kingdom God is creating in our midst.   Sermon:                                          Left-Handed Power A few weeks ago we talked about names. When God made a covenant with Abram he promised him as many offspring as there are stars in the sky and he changed his name to Abraham, which means Father of Nations. Sarai also got a new name, Sarah, which means Mother of Princess. And, in the fullness of time, Abraham and Sarah lived into their names. Today we are focusing on another name, the name of Jesus. Jesus means “rescuer.” A rather fitting name for the savior of the world. And it wasn’t an uncommon name of that day. The Hebrew pronunciation of Jesus is Yeshua, and comes to us in English as the name Joshua. The Spanish pronunciation of Jesus is Jesús and is a common boy’s name in Spanish-speaking countries. There is nothing particularly special about the name Jesus ~ it isn’t a royal name or a unique name or an exclusive name ~ except that it is the name of the One who came to rescue us from our sins. If we look a the story of today ~ the story of the first Palm Sunday ~ we see that, upon entering the city of Jerusalem, the people cheered for Jesus, “Hosanna! (Save us!) Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” Jesus wasn’t being recognized as a good teacher or an impressive healer, but as one bearing the very name of the Lord. . As William Loader explains, for the people if Israel “…bearing someone’s name was like bearing their responsibility and being recognized as able to represent them.” Yet this procession wasn’t quite what we might expect for one representing God. Where one might look for a battalion of soldiers, a rag-tag group of followers ~ including fisherman, tax collectors, women, and children ~ lined the parade route.  Where one might expect a king outfitted in armor riding atop a stallion, Jesus sat on the back of a borrowed donkey. Trumpets didn’t accompany the arrival, but shouts of “Hosanna!” One might even think that Jesus was poking fun at the usual show of might that accompanied the military parades of the day, which inspired both awe and fear. And maybe that was the point. Maybe it was meant to be a joke of sorts. A way to show the big-shots that their brand of power wasn’t the only show in town. A way to distract from the show of force and intimidation that usually accompanied a king. A way to affirm that the name of God was greater than any military parade that humanity could muster. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. The reformer, Martin Luther, described this kind if power as left-handed power. Unlike right-handed power, left-handed power doesn’t force or coerce. It doesn’t threaten or bully. Left-handed power isn’t afraid to show weakness or vulnerability for the sake of something greater. It is a power that grants freedom. It is a power in favor of relationship and community, that rejects the idea that “might makes right”. It is the kind of power shown throughout Jesus’ life and in his death. Luther described...

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Sermon March 20: Via Dolorosa

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon March 20: Via Dolorosa

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Via-Dolorosa-March-20-2016.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church March 20, 2016 Palm Sunday Rev. Kristabeth E. Atwood Scripture: Luke 19:28-40, Philippians 2:5-11 Sermon: Via Dolorosa Via Dolorosa. The Way of the Cross. The past few weeks we have been on a journey, we have traveled along the way. Our journey has brought us to The Wandering Way, The Way Around, The High Way, The Way Home and The Free Way. Today our journey takes us to The Other Way. Via Dolorosa is Latin for the way of suffering, the way of grief, the way of sorrows, the painful way. It is most commonly known as The Way of the Cross. The Via Dolorosa is an actual road in Jerusalem which is thought to be the road Jesus walked on his way to his crucifixion. Yet Via Dolorosa has taken on a broader meaning for Christians. We all encounter the Via Dolorosa in one way or another. It is the difficult way. The other way. The way we try to avoid, but often cannot. In our Scripture today we find Jesus continuing on the way, steadily journeying toward Jerusalem. Along the way he taught many things and he healed many people. In fact, word spread about this man who maybe could possibly be the Messiah. And even as he made his way to Jerusalem, Jesus had been doing his best to prepare the disciples for what they would encounter when they reached their final destination. He talked to them about betrayal, suffering and death. The Via Dolorosa. The disciples, though, were easily distracted. They didn’t want to believe their journey would end in suffering. When Jesus asked two of his disciples to go retrieve a colt from an unsuspecting villager, they likely were wondering what Jesus was up to this time. They were used to strange things happening when Jesus was around. So they got the colt and threw their cloaks on it and Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the final stretch of his journey. The disciples likely thinking this was going to be a journey of triumph. And even before they reached the city gates a large crowd gathered. Soon everyone was throwing their cloaks on the road and grabbing palm branches to wave in celebration. The disciples must have been in awe at the reception that Jesus was getting. There was no Via Dolorosa here. He had told them he would suffer there, in the city, but he must have been wrong. It was a party! People were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Save us! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” It was all pretty exciting. I mean, this was the reception that Jesus deserved. Riding into the city on a colt, much like his mother had arrived in Bethlehem, Jesus wasn’t the typical hero. Yet the people noticed. They looked up from their shopping and their rushing to get errands done. They lifted palm branches and shouted, “Hosanna!” They knew something special was going on and they wanted to be part of it. It seemed that Jesus might have been be the most popular person in Jerusalem for the moment. However, unlike those people at the first Palm parade we know, in the words of Paul Harvey, the rest of the story. We know how the week will end. Unlike those caught up in the boisterousness of the crowd, we know that those who showed their support for Jesus this day would withdraw and disappear before the end of the week, that shouts of “Hosanna” would soon turn into cries of “crucify him.”...

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Sermon March 29: Point of No Return (Palm Sunday)

Posted by on Mar 29, 2015 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon March 29: Point of No Return (Palm Sunday)

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Point-of-No-Return-March-29-2015.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church March 29, 2015 Palm Sunday Rev. Krista Beth Atwood Scripture: Mark 11:1-11, Philippians 2:5-11 Prayer of Illumination: God is our rock and our fortress. We can rely on God to help us hear, not only words of celebration, but words of anguish – words that challenge and distress us. May God open our ears, our eyes and our hearts to let the Scripture into our souls and fill us with steadfast love. Amen. Sermon:  Point of No Return “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.” I have always liked Palm Sunday. It’s a fun Sunday, isn’t it? The hymns. The parade. The celebration.   As a child I remember being part of the parade with my friends, handing out palms to everyone in our small congregation. Then, after the service, old Mr. Hedrick would take our palms and fix them into the shape of a cross. My palm cross would sit on my bookshelf, getting brittle and dry until the next year when I got a new one. “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” But we know something that those who lined the streets of Jerusalem to welcome Jesus didn’t know, right? We know, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. We know that Palm Sunday is a celebration with a shadow. We know that the carpet of palm branches soon led to the cross. The joy of Palm Sunday points us to the passion of Good Friday. Palm Sunday was the day that sealed Jesus’ fate. After Palm Sunday Jesus couldn’t take it back even if he had wanted to ~ the teachings, the healings. As Carl Gregg put it, “These risky acts of nonviolent activism led directly to Jesus’ tragic martyrdom.” Palm Sunday was the point of no return. The shouts of ‘Hosanna’ soon became cries of, ‘Crucify him’. And that’s the part of Palm Sunday that makes this more than a sentimental story about a little parade. As much as we would like it to, the high of Palm Sunday doesn’t lead us right into the celebration of Easter, with pastel colored eggs and chocolate bunnies lining the way. Instead there is a valley in between, the valley of the shadow of death, deep and treacherous and full of despair. “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Even though we sometimes refer to our Palm Sunday celebration as Jesus “Triumphal Entry,” it was really anything but triumphal ~ made up of a rag-tag group including fisherman, tax collectors, women, children, the blind, the lame. And the guest of honor was not on a stallion, but on the back of a borrowed donkey. Trumpets didn’t accompany the arrival, but shouts of “Hosanna!” and the waving of palms. The mighty King David would certainly have been embarrassed by such a paltry display. It seemed more like a joke than a parade fit for royalty. And maybe that was the point. Maybe it was meant to be a joke of sorts. An act of street theater. A way to show the big shots that their brand of power wasn’t the only show in town. An affirmation that the name of God is greater than any show of force or power humanity could muster. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. In our confirmation class (here at Faith UMC) we spend one session talking about our names. We write our names and their meanings on the...

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Sermon April 13: Obedience Above All

Posted by on Apr 13, 2014 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon April 13: Obedience Above All

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Obedience-Above-All-April-13-2014.mp3Faith United Methodist Church April 13, 2014 Palm Sunday Rev. Krista-Beth Atwood Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11, Philippians 2:5-11 Prayer of Illumination: Nourish us, O God, with your word of life.  Take away our arrogance and uncertainty, that we may follow Christ Jesus our savior all the way to the cross and rejoice together as sisters and brothers in the new life you give.  Amen. Sermon:  Obedience Above All Obedience.  It’s something that we like to see in our kids, right?  ~ and in our pets.  For one thing, obedience ensures safety.  Don’t touch the hot stove.  Hold my hand in the parking lot.  Heel.  Sit.  Stay.  Obedience gets a little more tricky for us, though, as we grow-up.  Teenagers don’t often like to follow Mom & Dad’s rules, no matter that many of those rules are for their safety.  And, as adults, we sometimes play fast and loose with the rules ourselves.  That 35 mph speed limit is just a suggestion, right? According the Mirriam Webster, obedience is an act or instance of obeying, the quality or state of being obedient.  To be obedient is to be willing to do what someone tells you to do or to follow a law or a rule.  That’s all well and good if the person or law is ethical, but what happens if the person or law or rule is unethical or immoral.  As they say, some rules are meant to be broken. Personally, I believe that some of the rules of The United Methodist Church regarding treatment of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are unethical.  I’ve joined with colleagues to speak against these rules and affirm that, if necessary, I will break them.  In this case I may be disobedient to the rules of the church, but obedient to my understanding of God’s love.   Sometimes we have to decide whose rules we are going to follow. The disciples knew whose rules they wanted to follow and, on this day, they got it right.  The disciples weren’t necessarily known for their obedience.  They argued when Jesus told them to stop.  They fell asleep when Jesus told them to stay awake.  But on this day they carried out Jesus’ instructions.  “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”  After they brought back the donkey the day started in earnest. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the crowds gathered to lay down their cloaks and wave their branches and sing, “Hosanna (which means save us)…  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”  It was a celebration.  There was a party going on!  A buzz of anticipation filled the air.  And all this was done to fulfill the prophet’s words:  “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  Everyone, right down to the crowd, was being obedient to the rules. It was, indeed, a feel good moment.  And, for us, it would be tempting to go right from the fanfare of the parade to the empty tomb ~ unscathed by what lay in-between.  But this isn’t just a week of praise and shouts of joy.  It’s also a week of cries of lament.  It is a week of death and life, of losing and gaining, of obedience and disobedience.  And, before was over, the crowds’ triumphant hosannas turn...

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