Palm Sunday – March 25, 2018

Links of Interest/Bibliography:

http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=3409

https://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?m=4377&post=3569

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2012/03/jesus-subversive-donkey-ride-a-progressive-christian-lectionary-commentary-for-palm-sunday/

https://melissabanesevier.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/old-time-religion-meets-new-time-spirituality/

https://thelisteninghermit.com/2012/03/26/hosanna-save-us-from-self-interest-palm-sunday-b/

http://www.rexaehuntprogressive.com/liturgy_collection/year_b_liturgy_collection/year_b_lenteaster/palmsb142012.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukkot

 

Words of Welcome
3 breaths – one for the people who are here right now & for those who can’t be – one for the people who have come before us (our parents, congregation, early settlers, Mi’maki, disciples, Jesus) – one for the people who will come in the future (our children & grandchildren, the future congregation of St. Luke’s)

Hymn And On This Path MV 8

Reading John 12:12-27
Response Sanna, Sannanina VU 128

Call to Worship
One: Jesus dared to live God’s way
in the midst of all the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ of life.

All: We too are called to proclaim our faith faithfully
by the way we live, and treat one another.

Silence

One: Jesus wanted his disciples to live passionate,
justice seeking, God centred lives.

Silence

All: Jesus, as human face of God, shared his life
that others might sense the new signs of hope
in their everyday lives.

Silence

Hymn Tell Me The Stories of Jesus VU 357

Theme Conversation Bouquets of Hope
Blessing the Bouquets

Hosanna, Save Us

The crowd has gathered to celebrate their history, to wave their branches in worship and remember all that they have overcome.  They see Jesus, coming into the town to participate in the festivities, riding on a donkey.  Suddenly, the connection hits home.  They have always been able to save themselves by keeping it simple.  They can save themselves once more if they can just remember what Jesus had taught them.

So…the we’re back here.  Back at the parade.  We’ve talked a lot about the political climate at the time.  We’ve talked about the parallels between then and now.  We’ve talked a lot about the week that is to come.  The part of today’s reading that stood out to me was “Hosanna! Save us!”  When I looked a bit more into the word, I learn that it is said with a similar meaning to “God help us!”.  It is a prayer.  These are my 4 Hosanna prayers.

Unbalanced Power
Before completing my final year of studies at the Centre for Christian Studies, I had to take a global perspectives experience, also called a gpe.  A gpe is a minimum two week experience usually in a developing country, that explores the impact of power and privilege for the people of that country.  For my gpe I went to Guatemala with the Breaking the Silence delegation.  One of the places we visited was the “Million Dollar Road” that was home to the owners of major fruit plantations and to a make shift village of people set up to protest the disappearance of landowners and workers who questioned pesticide use, the ethics of acquiring land and in some cases even the disappearance of others.  We also visited the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala.  When we asked about what was being done to investigate the disappearance of a large number of people, we were given the runaround and told the plantation owners were wonderful people.  We didn’t ask about the plantation owners.  When we asked about impunity (or the corruption of the justice system I such a way that there is no punishment when someone undeniably has done something unjust) the official didn’t believe that existed.  It was very obvious to villagers who told us of the times they witnessed public torture, or were removed from their villages without any kind of compensation.  There’s no way to avoid situations of power, but what happens when power goes unchecked?

Hosanna – Save us from unbalanced power.  God I pray that our government and other governments remember the need for balanced power.  Power that acts for the good of everyone and not just a few.  I pray that I might have the courage to be a balancing voice.  Hosanna.

 Uncontentedness
Do you know the difference between happiness and being content?  A few years ago I read a book called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchin Rubin.  It was a series of twelve experiments researched and designed to increase her happiness.  I think my biggest learning from the book was that you need to be content in order to be happy and that contentedness is a mindset.  No one can determine my happiness or my contentedness but me.  Sometimes bad things happen in life.  Sometimes, if we let the bad things take over, they can swallow us up.  We can challenge this simply by finding one thing to be grateful for.  Personally, I think that is the mark of a resilient person: even in the worst situation, finding something to be grateful or content about.

Hosanna – Save us from our uncontentedness.  God, I pray that I might see things with a lens of contentment.  I pray that with practice, my happiness will increase and that my contentment and happiness will encourage others. Hosanna.

Polarization
It’s easy for me to spout things from this pulpit.  I say it’s easy because I have a lot of privilege.  I was born here in Nova Scotia, to heterosexual, married parents.  I am heterosexual, cis-gendered, of European descent, educated, employed by the largest protestant denomination in Canada.  English is my first language and I’m quickly approaching middle age.  So it’s quite easy for me to say with moderate confidence, to speak my truth and know it will be heard by some, if not all of you for what it is: my truth.  But for these exact same reason it’s also easy for me to assume my sometimes radical thoughts are the norm.  I find it utterly shocking when I meet someone who appears the same as me, yet holds a different set of values…and sometimes even just a different order of the same values.  Different values or a different order of the same values isn’t really a problem though.  It’s my assumption that everyone shares the exact same values and order as me, even though we’ve had different life experiences.  What’s even more problematic is when I assume that the right combination of values for me is the right combination for everyone else, even though we’ve had different life experiences.  This is polarization.  This is what starts wars.

Hosanna – Save us from polarization.  God I pray that I might always be able to keep the life experiences of others in mind as I seek to understand their values and ethics.  I pray that I am able to speak in ways that don’t polarize. Hosanna.

Ourselves
As people lined the street that day in Jerusalem, waving their palm branches in a worship-filled ceremony, Jesus, the local celebrity, rode into town on a donkey.  And the people were reminded that they didn’t to be big and powerful to be happy and to have a good relationship with God and with each other.  All they needed was to remember to love and the rest would fall into place.  Maybe all they needed was to stop expecting so much from themselves.  Maybe that’s all we need to do too.  Maybe we need to be saved from ourselves.

Hosanna – Save us from ourselves.  God, I pray that I will stop sabotaging myself.  I pray that my expectations of myself and others will be reasonable and help me to grow in ways that benefit not only myself, but others as well. Hosanna, save us, Amen.

Music Minstry Hosanna (Praise is Rising)

Minute for Reconcilliation

Offering Invitation
We get through Holy Week because we know how the story really ends. We know about the resurrection. We have hope. Not everyone is able to see hope. Because we can see hope, we must share it, so the hope can continue to grow. The Mystery of Easter is hope. Reconciliation is hope. Our offerings have the possibility to become hope.

Offertory I Thank You, Thank You Jesus MV 188 v 1 & 3

Offertory Prayer
May these gifts, those given through PAR and our commitment to give be seen as the gifts they truly are. Amen.

Prayer Music Lord, Prepare Me to Be A Sanctuary MV 18

Prayers of the People & the Prayer of Jesus
Ending with the sung Prayer of Jesus. During the Prayer of Jesus, you are invited to use the translation and language of your choice. A variety of translations and expressions of the Prayer of Jesus (also known as The Lord’s Prayer) can be found in Voices United pages 916-927.

Hymn All Glory, Laud and Honour VU 122

Commissioning & Benediction

Musical Blessing Wherever You May Go MV 216

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