Sunday, March 20 was Palm/Passion Sunday of the Christian year. It is the Sunday that begins Holy Week and sends us toward Easter Sunday. The Palm part is easy to understand as it marks the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at the beginning of the Passover season. We celebrate with hymns and with praise and with children waving palm branches. We see this as the beginning of the week that will bring us to the ultimate victory over death on Easter Sunday. For me is it sad that we often go from one celebration to another without regard for the Passion. The Passion is understood as the part of the story from the arrest of Jesus through the crucifixion of Jesus. It is the hard and ugly part of the story that we would rather overlook, it is the part of the story we are the most sorry for, the part of the story that portraits Jesus as a loser and the part of the story many wish would just go away. For me it is the most amazing part of the story. When I consider all that Christ willingly endured for me, not because he had to, not because he was made to but because He loved me so deeply, this is amazing! If you believe Jesus was born to die then yes I can see why you would just want to overlook this part of the story after all it was his “destiny”. The problem is I don’t believe in destiny. Destiny means it was pre ordered, predestined in other word free will was removed and no one had a choice. One of the most amazing God given gifts to humanity is free will. Jesus was born to show us how to live in relationship with God, to show us how to love God and to love like God. Jesus came to earth to be our example. If you read the Bible you can see how his life was always pointing to God and God’s love. Sadly most of humanity did not see it and the powerful of humanity saw Jesus’ life as a hindrance to their way of life. The concept of being loved by God and to love our neighbors would mean seeing God and humanity as being more important than ourselves. This was difficult then and it remains that way today. You see I believe Jesus’ suffering and death was an act of free will, a choice the powerful people of the day made to maintain their life. It also became the act that shows us the depth of God’s love for us. Jesus willingly suffered and died to show humanity what real love is all about. You see the evil of the world had all of creation in its grip. The evil taunted, tempted and played games with creation because sin and death were in control. To break the chains of sin and death, a ransom had to be paid. Jesus’ life was that ransom. Jesus paid the price not to gain control over creation but so that we would have and see a better way to live, and a better way to evaluate our daily choices. Jesus showed us love, his choice to suffer and die was based on love for all creation, not what is in this for me, what will I get out of this, no by giving my life in love I give freedom to creation, to humanity. Jesus’ death set us free from sin’s control and Jesus’ resurrection freed us from the fear of death. No longer is it what can I do to stay right with God, no longer is it about maintaining laws, now it is about what God has done and living our life in response for all God has done, is doing and will do every day. It is a lot to think about and every one may not agree, but it is what makes sense to me and it is an honor to share it with you. May God bless it and use it to cause you to think about Jesus’ suffering and death this day. Amen!
This Sunday get ahead by reading John 20:1-18 and we will focus on the title “I have seen the Lord!”.
Join us Thursday, March 24 at 7:00pm for our Maundy Thursday Worship.
Join us Friday, March 25 at 7:00pm if you would like to share in the movie The Passion of the Christ.
Here are two upcoming golfing events to support worthwhile ministries. North Georgia United Methodist Men Golf Fundraiser! This will be a 1;30 PM shotgun start on Friday April 22nd at Woodmont Golf and Country Club. The dinner afterward will be a BBQ dinner with sides followed by ton of raffles and auction items. Please invite your non-golfing friends too for dinner. To register; please fax or email your registration by midnight Monday 29th to take advance of the discounted golf for registering! Please call Larry Delbridge with questions at 404.493.2288 or email him at LarryDelbridge@gmail.com. Do we have any golfers in our congregation? How about any golfers who feel high education is important? How about golfers who feel higher education at a United Methodist affiliated university is worth supporting? If any or all of these applies to you I invite you to join me for the 23th annual United Methodist Scholarship Golf Outing, Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at Bent Tree Golf Course here in Jasper, Georgia. I would really love to have two or more teams of four playing in this worthwhile golf outing. The cost is $145 per player can be paid through the church. If you are interesting in playing please let me, Pastor Greg, know. I am planning to play and I am looking to hear from the first three folks who are willing to join my foursome. Thank you in advance for your support and consideration.