I reprint below my Palm Sunday sermon from this morning -- It's actually the Hebrew Bible text for Passion Sunday (the Palm Sunday alter ego). As I note in the sermon, while I enjoy Palm Sunday, I find it a difficult preaching event -- How do you preach triumph, when you know that Good Friday is on the horizon!
"Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." That’s what you’re supposed to say when bullies pick on you and call you names. It would be nice, if names didn’t hurt, but from experience I can say – it’s not true. Names do hurt. Indeed, we’ve discovered that verbal abuse can be just as damaging to a child as physical abuse. James understood this to be true long before the psychologists caught on. He called the tongue a "restless evil, full of deadly poison." Indeed, the same tongue that we use to sing praises to God, we also use to curse those "who are made…
Are you happy? Then you must be forgiven! While none of us is completely sinless, apparently it’s possible to be free of that nagging joy-killing sense of guilt that comes with sin. It appears that we can “be glad in the Lord and rejoice,” if we’re found to be among the righteous. We can “shout for joy,” if “we’re upright in heart.” The good news is we can start with the promise of forgiveness. So says the Psalmist. We’re at the halfway point in our Lenten journey, and during this season we’ve been spending time with the Psalms. We’ve mostly heard words of assurance. We’ve heard that God is our refuge and our fortress, and that we live under the protective cover of God’s wings. We’ve heard the promise of God’s steadfast love surrounding us. These are words of divine grace that offer us comfort and encouragement, especially when life’s circumstances are challenging. Of course, Lent is a season of reflection and even penitence. So, could another shoe be waiting to drop? Could t…
Isaiah called out to the exiles living in Babylon: Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price. (Is. 55:1)
Are you thirsty? Are you hungry? Then come and drink and eat, freely, for the gift of God is one of grace, and it alone will satisfy. As we continue our Lenten journey, the word we hear from the Psalmist echoes the words of Isaiah. This Psalm is said to come from David as he was in the wilderness of Judah. Both Isaiah and David speak of hunger and thirst. The question then becomes, for what do you hunger and thirst? Is it physical or is it spiritual? The fact is we will experience both forms in the course of lives. Both are real and both seek satisfaction. And in way or another, God is the source of that satisfaction. This morning as we ponder the words of the Psalm, we are invited to consider what it means to be truly thirsty. As we consider what this means, the wo…