HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE A SAVIOR?
Psalm 118: 1-2 & 19-2
MARK 11: 1-11
MARCH 28, 2021 PALM SUNDAY
“My Jesus, My Savior … LORD THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU. All of my days, I want to praise … SHOUT TO THE LORD all the EARTH LET US SING!! Power and majesty praise to the king! Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name!”
So, friends …. How do you celebrate a Savior? What do you believe is the honor and the respect and yes, the worship that is due the Son of God whose sacrifice will one day provide each of us who believe …. Each of us who truly believe and follow Jesus … with a place in heaven that we frankly don’t deserve? How do you worship God? Are you willing and ready to celebrate the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who some 2000 years ago entered into Jerusalem knowing that he would suffer for OUR transgressions and be bruised for OUR iniquities? Are you willing to give up YOUR TIME for YOU and devote YOUR TIME for GOD and CHRIST? Just some .. perhaps a little bit more than you have been giving but you will still have time to binge Netflix, I know you will find that time somewhere.
Do you find moments each day to sing to Jesus in worship or to shout out praises … yes, to shout them out so others might even hear your praising Christ or perhaps to merely just state your version of Darlene. (CHECK’s) Zshech’s SHOUT TO THE LORD? “I sing for joy at the work of Your hands. Forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand. NOTHING …. NOTHING … NO … NOTHING compares to the promise I have in You.”
And, the people in the hood …. The people in the hills … the city dwellers and the shepherds and the carpenters heard HE was coming … Jesus the famous celebrity … Jesus the healer … Jesus the peace maker … Jesus the man who can’t be explained in normal human terms … the MESSIAH? … But he’s not a king! …. Let’s go see Him! … Let’s go to the hillside of the Mount of Olives … hurry get your kids to come along … Today, today is going to be a special day I am sure their time demanding little league coach will allow them to miss a practice for this Jesus … bring some palm leaves … get ready because, YES … this Jesus … He just might be the One … the One the prophets have told us about; He meets their predictions and wow … just look at what He’s done. I wish we could find a book with His words in it … I would love to hear His words and learn from his teaching again; wouldn’t you? …. Hurry … hurry!
“Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the field. Those in front of Him and those following were shouting ..”
Friends, can you hear them … are your shouts for JOY amongst those voices … would you have put your clothes down on the road so that Jesus’ feet would not get dusty … do you sing for joy at the work of His hands? Shout for joy at the mere mention of His name? Do you celebrate God’s gift of a Savior and do you worship Him with passion and love? Do you want to jump up and down with joy … wave your palms … shout HOSANNA!!! BLESSINGS!!! JESUS CHRIST IS MY SAVIOR!!! GOD LOVES ME and YOU!! Do you want to celebrate Jesus? Do others know you do? Or perhaps, that you don’t? Has anyone ever noticed you celebrating God’s love through Jesus?
Or, would you have stayed home that day? Rain in the forecast and you know you can’t celebrate Jesus on rainy days … no way. The Roman legions are marching into town through another gate and you can’t let the powerful and the political get even the slightest hint that you are a follower of the man born in a manger to Mary; a man who stilled the waters;; a man whose teachings were about love and fed the thousands and healed the broken and stood up for the poor and diminished the religious rule setters … make sure nothing is posted on your social media that even hints that His teachings mean anything to you because others won’t like that. Can’t proclaim a Risen Christ whose rules are wrapped up simply in loving God and loving all your neighbors because all too many don’t want you to love those others …. You know who they are; those others.
It is difficult, isn’t it, to celebrate your personal Savior even on Palm Sunday? Because the world does not want you to align with the Gospel teachings … the world has another message for you to embrace and it provides a flag to wave and worldly chants to shout for their goals doesn’t it? The world’s prophets are busy on your televisions and radio’s telling you what to think and what to say and who to put down and who to raise up. Are you celebrating them, those talking heads, with joy and passion? Taking their words into your daily conversation rather than Jesus’ words? Who do you worship? How do you celebrate Jesus in your life … by hiding His lessons and denying Him?
But on that day of contradictions … on that day when Pontius Pilate and the Roman legions came into Jerusalem to maintain order because Passover was going to be celebrated … there was Jesus Christ. He was coming down the hillside on a donkey … going through the Kidron Valley and into Jerusalem. “BLESSINGS on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! HOSANNA in the highest!! HOSANNA!!”
How do you define Jesus Christ by the way? If you were asked by someone during this Holy Week who Jesus is? Or, who Jesus was? What would you say? Would you use the past tense? The present tense? Or would you include a reference of your future tense when you and I will be before Him in glory … if we believe and follow?
In today’s Affirmation of Faith that was sent to us by Sinead Tyrone we heard her words “I experience God’s tender loving care even when my world falls apart and my cracks begin to show.” Isn’t that the Easter week lesson? Even with all the cracks and fissures and sins that reflect our lives … God continues to offer us love and salvation through Jesus Christ. In the Gospel lesson we read that “after Jesus entered Jerusalem to the Hosanna’s He went to the Temple of God. He looked around and then left the city for Bethany where He would spend the night with His disciples.”
When I read that verse I always consider how Jesus in the holiest of places takes time to look around and that in his vision Jesus sees me and you and you and those neighbors who need our love because others are calling them names, mocking them, and beating them down … Jesus is hoping we are celebrating our faith by living for Jesus as this morning’s hymn shared … “striving to please Him in all that I do. Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free … the pathway of blessing for me. He died in my place bearing my sin and disgrace.” The songwriter adds “Such love constrains me to answer His call, follow His leading, and give Him my all” …. So I need to ask how do you celebrate a SAVIOR today on Palm Sunday but then again tomorrow and Tuesday and Wednesday and Maundy Thursday … do you even slow down to worship God and Christ on Good Friday and is Easter more than chocolate eggs and PEEPS …. Are you considering the need to celebrate a Savior?
HOSANNA FRIENDS …. BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES in the NAME of our GOD!!! HALLELUJAH … I’ll give you an Easter hint because Easter has already happened. … JESUS CHRIST, the SON of GOD, the MESSIAH, the SAVIOR to the WORLD …. HE IS RISEN!!!<<HE IS RISEN INDEED!>> Rejoice always in the Lord; Again I say rejoice!
And, the realities of Holy Week should be enough for each of us to choose to celebrate our God … our Jesus … each day! To live for Jesus should be our energized choice from amongst all the options and choices on the spinning wheel of life … when we take on Jesus and accept God’s love in total then we can find joy … it is there we can find peace and through that we should want to jump up and down and shout with joy and wave our palms and celebrate … GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD BECAUSE THE LORD GOD IS GOOD!!! GOD’s FAITHFUL LOVE LASTS FOREVER!!!
The psalmist asks his people the people of Israel to state it but right now wherever you are I want you to shout it out with me … if you have your palms wave them otherwise wave your arms. The words are easy GOD’s FAITHFUL LOVE LASTS FOREVER … READY? Let the church shout out with joy GOD’s FAITHFUL LOVE LASTS FOREVER … GOD’s FAITHFUL LOVE LASTS FOREVER …. HOSANNA … HOSANNA!!
Friends, “the stone rejected by the builders is now the main foundation stone! This has happened because of the Lord God who loves you and me so much. God brought us Jesus to deliver us from our sin … to make our paths to eternal life with God so much easier … God acted through Jesus … today, can be the day when we each begin to realize that yes .. THIS IS THE DAY of the LORD …. TOMORROW is the DAY of the LORD … We will rejoice and celebrate in it!!!
‘You are my God! Hallelujah!’ Friends, if you understand that God is your God who loves you … my God who loves me … the God who loves all of your neighbors … the God who brought Jesus to us … then it should be easy to celebrate and be thankful because God goes beyond anything we can understand but we can discover God in nature and our surroundings! Hear the psalmist and let the words of Psalm 118 become your words today and tomorrow … “YOU ARE MY GOD —- I WILL GIVE THANKS TO YOU!!! YOU ARE MY GOD —- I WILL LIFT YOU UP HIGH!!
In an interview with Today’s Christian Woman’s magazine, Darlene Zschech said that when she wrote SHOUT TO THE LORD she was “feeling discouraged and felt that she could either tear her hair out or praise God.” She said, “The line nothing compares to the promise I have in you in the song was something I clung to. When circumstances seem bleak that promise holds true … through the tough times.”
“My comfort my shelter … tower of refuge and strength. Let every breath, all that I am am never cease to worship You. SHOUT TO THE LORD ALL THE EARTH LET US SING …”
And, so some of us will drive through our community today waving palms from our car windows … shouting hosanna’s and God loves you. I know many of you were too busy to join in … but where will you go to shout your hosanna’s and declarations that God and Jesus love all your neighbors? How are you going to celebrate Your Savior … we had Vietnamese food to celebrate my son-in-law’s birthday last week … I cheered with my brother during this football season while my team was winning … I giggle with my grandson and celebrate his reality and development …
But I know I am called to GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD because GOD IS GOOD … GOD’s FAITHFUL LOVE LASTS FOREVER! WAVE THOSE PALMS … SHOUT TO THE LORD, out of love, so that the world hears God’s praise and the world’s anthems get drowned out. And, this Holy Week give up your time for God … HOLY WEEK, right? AMEN