Sunday, March 25, 2018

Going to the heart of the faith - it's all about Jesus

Text for the Week: Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lod! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven! Luke 19: 

Welcome to our services for Palm Sunday and a special welcome to any who are worshiping with us for the first time. 

During our service Our Open the Book team are going to tell the story of the Grand Parade into Jerusalem. And they would like everyone’s help! As Jesus rode into Jerusalem the crowds waved palm branches: we would love you to pick up something from the team at the front that you can wave as the Grand Parade passes through! 

We are going to focus on Luke’s account of Palm Sunday in Luke 19. It’s the culmination of a journey to Jerusalem that had begun in Luke’s Gospel way back in chapter 9 verse 51 when Luke tells us Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Much was said on the journey and a great deal happened. Jesus’s journeying did not finish on Palm Sunday: day by day through the following week he journeyed in and out of Jerusalem, until he was arrested. It seemed as if it really had come to an end on Good Friday … but on the third day he rose again from the dead and, as we shall find out in our Easter celebrations next week, the journeying went on. There is so much Jesus has to offer on the journey we are on! It takes us to the cross … and beyond to resurrection too! 

Welcome and Call to Worship

364 All glory, laud and honour

Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer

Introduce Christ’s entry into Jerusalem – painting and backdrop for our service …

Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem by Norman Adams
from the Methodist Art Collection John 12: 12–15

Jesus is at the centre riding a donkey, with a foal or colt, along a sunlit road lined with sunflowers. There is no obvious depiction of Jerusalem, no garments or palm-tree branches cast before Jesus, but there is a joyous crowd with bunting and decorations. Various flags are flown, some on their side or upside down. The figure to the right, at a window, may be Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree to see Jesus. Luke records this as happening at Jericho, but it is often included in the Entry into Jerusalem. The rich luminous colours recall medieval stained glass. When commissioned to undertake this work for the Collection in 1990, Norman Adams replied ‘I would like to do this very much ... It is a wonderful subject’.

Methodist Art Collection

Helen Cook in Magnet: this picture of the event helped me  feel what it might have been like to be there.

Flags of the nations brings it into today’s world – Jesus comes for us!

What figures can you spot? – those dark figures ahead of Jesus – the darkness he is going into before he reaches the light of resurrection?

Hymn: Jesus is coming 1-2

Jesus is coming,
Joy and excitement,
Telling our friends that
He’s on his way.
Will you come with us?
Leave what you’re doing?
Wait at the roadside,
Wonderful day!

Here he comes smiling,
Happy to see us.
We wave our branches
His praises sing.
He told us stories,
Valued our friendship,
Join us to welcome
The children’s King

The Grand Parade

Hymn: Jesus is coming 3-4


Humble and riding on a donkey

We greet you

Acclaimed by the crowds and caroled by the children,

We cheer you

Moving from the peace of the countryside to the corridors of power

We salute you,  Christ our Lord.

You are giving the beasts of burden
a new dignity;
You are giving majesty
a new face
you are giving those who long for redemption
a new song to sing

With them, with heart and voice
We shout Hosanna!

A Hy-Spirit Song

Activities for all over 3

And so we arrive at Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter and reach the heart of our Christian faith … and it’s all about Jesus.

His story is told in the gospels and each has a story to tell.

Mark is brief and punchy and full of action as Jesus criss crosses across the Sea of Galilee from the Jewish to the Gentile territory bringing healing to hurting people’s lives and shaping a new way of being together which he calls the Kingdom of God.

Matthew sees Jesus as the new Moses – he presents the teaching of Jesus in five sections that offers us a whole new of thinking about the world and a whole new way of living in the world.

John’s Gospel homes in on seven things that Jesus did: he calls them signs – and each one is accompanied by Jesus’s reflections that bring out the significance of all that happened – and then one more sign is the death and resurrection of Jesus – and the significance of it all is brought out in the wonderful reflections Jesus makes at the last supper – from, five whole chapters of reflections from 13 to 17.

And then there’s Luke.

And it’s all about the Journey Jesus makes to Jerusalem.

It’s easy to think of that journey to Jerusalem as happening on Palm Sunday.

In Luke’s gospel it begins a long way before – the bulk of the book is built around Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem

Luke 9:51





13:33, 34





There’s a mounting tension as he makes his way to Jerusalem.

What do you do on a journey? You tell stories

Where to find parables?

Seed, harvest, nature – Parables of the Kingdom – Mark 4 or Matthew 13

Parables of choice – wide and narrow door, good and bad fruit, wise builder and foolish builder, wise women and foolish women, worthy servants and unworthy, sheep and goats – End of Sermon on the Mount and End of last sermon – Matthew 7 and 25

Story-like parables – Good Samaritan, Rich Fool, Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Son – all on the journey to Jerusalem …

Reflections – the journey of life, the journey of faith … but on this journey there is a sense of purpose, a sense of direction

Good to share at the Annual Meeting on Thursday – the church is moving forward – looking to the time of the vacancy – looking to the Autumn. It is important to have that sense of vision – the sense of direction – the sense of purpose in moving forward.

A journey to challenge, to take up the cross, to find the glory Christ promises.

And in all the journey to sense the presence of God with us.

533 Will you come and follow me

Reading: Luke 19:36-44

The things that make for peace

As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

‘Blessed is the king
   who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
   and glory in the highest heaven!’

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’

At the start of the story of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel – the angels song – Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace …

And now as the story of Jesus comes to its climax in Luke – that song is echoed

Peace in heaven,
Glory in the highest heaven

But that prayer Jesus taught us to pray invites us to seek to bring heaven down to earth – a task for us to do.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

What does that entail?

It’s at this point we come to one of the most poignant of all the moments in the Gospel story, of all the moments in the story of Jesus.

As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.’

As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

On the journey, in all that we do our task in bringing heaven down to earth is to recognize the things that make for peace.

360 Jesus Christ is waiting

Prayers of Concern

392 When I survey

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