April 5, 2020
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week which will end next Sunday with Easter.
In normal times, I would very much look forward to special church services this week: a special service on Thursday taking Holy Communion and a special Good Friday service, then an Easter Sunrise service.
But these are not normal times, unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 virus scare that has affected everything on this planet.
However big that scare is, especially with churches being closed by government mandates, we who are Christians will be celebrating Holy Week in our homes. My family has a big meal planned for Easter. And a full worship service before we eat. We will have special Bible readings that we will all participate in, a devotional and Holy Communion. Ever since this “shelter in place” order was imposed on us, we have still been keeping the Sabbath holy.
I’ve always loved Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday. Every year for the 50 years that I pastored, we would have a sermon on what happened on that first Palm Sunday. Not every year of my pastoral career did I tape palm leaves on the end of the pews at my church, but most years we did. The youth of the churches always looked forward to taking the palm leaves home after the service for a souvenir.
I think every year, especially during Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, of what we are celebrating on this occasion: the resurrection of Jesus.
I stated in my blog post on Ash Wednesday that I was giving up all sweets and all social media for Lent.
One man who makes comments fairly often on my posts wrote me and said he didn’t believe in Lent or Easter. He said the Bible didn’t say anything about giving up anything up for Lent. I didn’t even reply to his comment, because I don’t think it hurts to suffer a little by our giving up something for Lent. After all, look at what Jesus did for us — He gave His very life in a very painful death by crucifixion.
Back to Palm Sunday; what was that all about? Jesus was decending down from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem. His followers were so excited that they threw down coats, robes, etc., then palm leaves in his pathway. They yelled out “Hosanna, the King is coming.” They were truly anticipating that Jesus was going to set up His earthly kingdom at that time, and that they would all get to reign with Him.
They had no idea until they saw the events take place before their eyes that Jesus had come down from the mountain to prepare for the mockery of a trial, the horrible scourging He received, and eventually His crucifixion.
Every Christian should try to imagine how horrible that next week would be for Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed that if it was possible, that His Father would let this cup pass from Him. But He concluded His prayer by saying, “Neverless Thy will be done.”
So during this Holy Week, try to imagine the thoughts of Jesus during His final week before the crucifixion. Try to realize that He did this for all of humanity, even for those who had nailed Him to the cross. And remember His words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Maybe you think you were not guilty of participating in His crucifiction. But you were because we are all born sinners. That’s what original sin is. But thank God, we can be forgiven of everything, if we call upon the name of Jesus and repent.
Have a happy Holy Week. I will post again Wednesday.
God Bless You,