A prayer for the church on Palm Sunday

Gracious Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Worship the king!

Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory. (Ps. 24:7-10)

Prayer for Palm Sunday and Holy Week:

God of unfailing Love,

We come before you on this day with thankful and joyous hearts because your love knows no bounds. No boundaries, limits, or obstacles—including those of our own making—can thwart your loving kindness from following us all the days of our lives.

Yet during this week, your story of passion mirrors to us how we have tested your love and spurned your compassion. You find no abiding place in those who welcome you in God’s name during this week; you are welcomed with short-lived praise and soon-aborted allegiance.

We kneel before you in awe of the Mystery of your faithfulness. We kneel before you with confession, acknowledging our complicity with friends and enemies alike who through the ages have disowned you through our words and actions. We kneel before you in gratitude, forever thankful that even during passion week your love held strong.

As we enter into Holy Week brace us with fortitude and gratitude and with the assurance that you are with us, world without end. Amen.

It’s a new day

The proclamation of the good news includes so many things. It IS about Christ coming to die for our sins. It IS about what Jesus has done for us in his sacrifice and resurrection.

And… it is more. It is his rule and his reign that has come. It’s not your “normal” king, but he IS king nonetheless and his coming has immense implications. Not just for you. For everyone. For the entire creation.

It’s a new day.

And today, it is announced with joy. It’s a great Palm Sunday.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion.
        Sing aloud, Daughter Jerusalem.
Look, your king will come to you.
        He is righteous and victorious.
        He is humble and riding on an ass,
            on a colt, the offspring of a donkey.
10 He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
        and the warhorse from Jerusalem.
The bow used in battle will be cut off;
        he will speak peace to the nations.
His rule will stretch from sea to sea,
        and from the river to the ends of the earth.
11 Moreover, by the blood of your covenant,
    I will release your prisoners from the waterless pit.
12 Return to the stronghold, prisoners of hope.
        Moreover, declare today that I will return double to you. (Zech. 9:9-12)

The not-so-popular side of Passion Week

Palm Sunday. It’s a great day of celebration.

And examination.

The King has come into his Temple and it’s not a pretty trip.

Part of the reading of Holy Week can really grate on a person!

“Awake, sword, against my shepherd,
    against the man who is close to me!”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“Strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered,
    and I will turn my hand against the little ones.
In the whole land,” declares the Lord,
    “two-thirds will be struck down and perish;
    yet one-third will be left in it.
This third I will put into the fire;
    I will refine them like silver
    and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
    and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” (Zech. 13:7-9)

The King has come to take care of his people… and that includes taking care of business. 

We need his fire refining us because we need to come out as something ready for his use.

Free Speech

We like to think it exists (and in reality, it still does), but what we really mean is this:

“I believe in your right to speak freely as long as it agrees one hundred percent with me. If it does not, I will have your job, or your company, or your product… or something to show how shameful it is that you disagree with me.”

Put any label on it you like. We all have this tendency in this environment.

To not be 100 percent in lock step with any “side” costs.

We get this in the world. Unfortunately, we get this in the church. It is poison.

It is expected in the world. It has become shameful in the Church.

Dear God, we enter Holy Week without an ear to hear our King. We are all entrenched in our views of who we think you are, or should be, and demand that narrow view of absolutely everyone else or we are too willing to cast them into outer darkness.

Help us remember, Lord, that YOU are King and it is YOUR Kingdom. We can truly find our unity in you… if we will just lay down our pride and follow you.

You rode into Jerusalem in your way, not in the way others expected. You went after the religious powers that day in the Temple, not the political powers of the empire. You called in the margins while the religious groused about it.

Come, King Jesus. We must submit to your reign. We are not allowed to “elect” you “president.” We are to bow before you as King.

Live, Eternal One. Reign!