Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

 
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Passion Introduction 04/13/2014

The shouts of “Hosanna! Save us!” quickly fade. All glory, laud and honor goes silent, the leftover palms and garments in the street now just litter to be swept up and burned. It’s a quick reversal but in a way, what you get today is an illustration of mob psychology as those shouts of “Hosanna!” do quickly turn into shouts of “Crucify him!” The shift from celebration to trial and crucifixion is abrupt but mob psychology can be abrupt too; it is powerful, especially when it’s fueled by fear.

This is a day that can make you wonder how you’re supposed to feel as we shift from palms to passion, but both things we do today are important, both the Palm Sunday part and the Passion Sunday part. We’re about to hear Matthew’s version of the Passion story. It’s long, most of chapter 26 and all of chapter 27 both of which are long to begin with, but it’s good to hear the whole narrative in one sitting rather than to just hear bits and pieces of it. As familiar as it is for most of us, hearing the whole thing read with the different voices is a different experience always quite dramatic and emotional.

The Palm Sunday reading, on the other hand, can have the effect of placing us in real time with Jesus as he begins his final week, a week that does begin in triumph but ends in trial and crucifixion before the final victory of Easter Sunday and resurrection. While it is good to hear the full Passion story read, it is also a lot to take in. So it is also useful to proceed more slowly and that’s what the Palm Sunday reading and observance invites us to do and that’s what I would invite you to do, to take this week more slowly, in real time with Jesus.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday follow the daily readings in the Outlook. Don’t just read them and set them aside, read them slowly, take time with them, meditate on them even if it’s not something you usually do. With the echo of today’s long narrative still with you, you might be surprised by where the readings take you. Then, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, be here for worship as the drama of the Great Three Days unfolds. Each worship service is different, each one happens only once a year as in words and rituals, in light and darkness we experience this story, this event that is central to who we are as Christians. The words that are read and said are important, but the rituals and the atmosphere around them are perhaps even more important as they affect the other side of your brain, the feeling side, which of course adds to the meaning.

To be sure, it is a lot of church, including some late nights; it’s more than we’re used to but then, it’s once a year. If you’ve never done the whole nine yards of the Three Days or you haven’t done it in a long time, make the commitment do it this year. Stay up a little later, even sacrifice a little sleep and spend an hour or two at the all night vigil. I’m quite sure that if you experience the fullness of the Three Days, you will find your experience of Easter to be more meaningful.

Now, as part of our Holy Week experience, let us hear the Passion of our Lord, according to St. Matthew.

Rev. Warren Geier

 
 

Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640
contact@bethanyishpeming.org

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor
pastor@bethanyishpeming.org

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“Whoever
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welcomes me, and whoever
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not me
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