We tell this story year after year.
It is the story that is the foundation of our faith.
There is no other story bigger than this. Jesus was born and lived among us as one of us. The religious and political rules of his day were afraid of him. They killed him. They thought it would be the end. But we know it was not.
We tell the story today in a different way from what we will do next week.
Today we began with the joy of the palms. You cannot tell this part of the story without feeling it was a happy thing.
But did you notice the change of mood when we came inside. Everything changed once we started to read the Passion story.
On the Lord’s Table this morning I have an Icon of this story. Somehow it captures both these moods. Jesus is coming into the picture followed by his happy disciples. You can see the palms and the clothes on the road.
But you can see the religious leaders in the gateway to the city. That man in front is not holding a palm. He is holding a whip. These are the people that in a few days will be calling out “Crucify him!”
This change of mood in the story is like the change of mood in the crowd. On this day they loved Jesus. Next Friday they want to kill him.
I am not sure at all. Nobody really knows. But I can tell you what it makes me think of.
Remember the story Jesus told of the Sower. He told us about the wheat that fell on stony ground or among the thorns. The seeds took of growing very quickly to begin with. Then they got choked by the weeds or ran out of soil.
We are all in danger of being like this. Now we are cheering for Jesus. Another day we will have no time for Jesus.
How will we protect our life in Jesus from this?
Can I suggest a couple of things? You probably know it already. But it is good to be reminded.
Spend regular time with Jesus.
This can be for Bible reading. This can be for prayer. When we began Lent I suggested this was a good time to do a little extra.
As we begin Holy week we have even more chances to do this.
· Devotional Book for Holy Week
· Special Services over Easter Weekend
This can be a very special time of devotion for you all. I would like to encourage you all to plan now to spend next weekend as quietly as possible. Don’t let busy things fill the gaps between our services. Come to all the services if you can. Let this most sacred story sink deep into your soul. Make the whole weekend of Easter your special time of devotion to Jesus.
Spend time in your faith community.
The story of Jesus makes us all brothers and sisters. We have all kinds of names for the church:
· A family
· The body of Christ
· The Kingdom of God
The importance of these names is that they emphasise that we belong together.
In the Letter to the Hebrews we are warned very strongly not to neglect meeting together. This is a very important thing. It is in this place that we are encouraged in our faith. It is in this way that we grow in our faith.
We now begin this most Holy Week of the Christian year. May you join with those waving the palms in rejoicing in the arrival of the Son of David. May you continue in your faith with the women at the foot of the cross. May you not have occasion to deny him as some of his friends did. And if you fail him in any way may you feel his loving arms calling you back into his loving embrace. Amen.