Good morning all, I hope you remembered to put your clocks forward (Spring forward) last night, if you didn’t then it’s later than you think! Here is this week’s Sunday Service for you. I hope you can find time to relax and listen to it and see what it is saying to you on this PALM SUNDAY.
Take care folks, keep safe and God bless. Iain
Click on the word Facebook to listen to the service
ONLINE SUNDAY SERVICE
28th March 2021
Good Morning folks, I hope you are well today. I am sure that, like me, you are looking forward to the warmer days of Spring; and of course, looking forward to seeing the back of the Covid lockdown which have all endured for just over a year now. I think we have all done very well to get through it – there have probably been a few wobblies on the way – but were almost there! Thank God.
Well, today is Palm Sunday and it was a fateful day,
when Jesus rode into Jerusalem,
on His way to the cross.
We’ll hear more about that shortly – but for now, let us pray –
Dear Lord of heaven and earth –as we share this service from our various homes, we join our hearts to Praise and to Worship you – you are the amazing King of all Kings.
On this Palm Sunday we remember the joy and excitement of that day when Christ rode into Jerusalem on that small donkey – and we come to sing your praises at His coming into our lives today.
Remind us to remain faithful to Him who gave His very life for us – Jesus Christ.
Remind us of all that He endured, the humiliation, the pain and the suffering – was all for us.
May we be worthy of his sacrifice and work for His honour and to His glory – glory – in all we say and do.
Bless us Lord, bless our loved ones and all who are affected by the Corona Virus, we pray – and we thank you for bringing us through this awful time. Bless those who have lost loved ones along the way, give them your comfort and your peace, we pray.
Listening Lord, as we prepare ourselves for worship – we sit for a few moments to clear our minds of the events of the past week – we bring to you our sadnesses – our disappointments – our frustrations and our regrets – and we pray that you will draw close to us as we confess that which we have said, done and thought – things that we are not proud of – things we pray you will forgive us for – in Jesus’ name.
So be with us Lord – as we bring all this to you in the peace of our silent prayers……silence………
Listening Lord – as undeserving as we are – we pray that you will forgive us and bless us with your mercy and your Grace.
Lord we know that you hear us when we pray in faith – so hear us now as we say together – the prayer which brings us together as one family – the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer ~
Our Father.. who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name.. Thy kingdom come.. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….. Give us this day our daily bread.. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever…. Amen.
Today our Readings are –
ZECHARIAH 9 : 9 – 10 & Luke 19 : 28 – 38
PREAMBLE TO READINGS
And both of our readings this morning talk of a Saviour, sent by God why would enter the Gates of Jerusalem – riding on a donkey.
The prophet Zechariah foretold this – and –
500 years later we hear of Jesus, God’s Son – fulfilling that prophesy – on what was to be, the very first Palm Sunday.
Let’s hear those readings now ~
And if you have a Bible with you, why not read along with me – as we read from –
ZECHARIAH 9: 9 – 10 New Living Translation
‘The King is coming…’
Let us listen to the Word of God.
9 Rejoice, O people of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious,
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—
riding on a donkey’s colt.
10 I will remove the battle chariots from Israel
and the warhorses from Jerusalem.
I will destroy all the weapons used in battle,
and your king will bring peace to the nations.”
And from ~
Luke 19:28-38 New Living Translation
‘Jesus’ Triumphant Entry’
28 Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples. 29 As he came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead.
30 “Go into that village over there,” he told them.
“As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. 33 And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?”
34 And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35 So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on.
36 As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. 37 When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, the crowd began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.
38 “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! they sang –
Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven! Hosanna to the Highest.”
This is the Word of the Lord, thank be to God
Have you ever looked forward to something so much – only to be disappointed when it finally happens?
I suppose all of us have – at sometime or another.
Well, that’s what the people in Jerusalem would have felt – when the long-awaited Messiah – the Saviour they had been told about in their holy scriptures – finally appeared.
We heard that Zechariah – the prophet and priest had written over 500 years before ~
“Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious,
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey…”
And here – now – before their very eyes – the prophesies were being fulfilled – the Messiah, the Saviour, the Chosen One had come.
But on a donkey ?? – really??
Just as He had arrived in the Holy city of Bethlehem – 33 years before – cradled in his mothers’ womb, riding on a donkey to His birth – now He was riding a donkey into that other holy city – Jerusalem – to his death.
But on this day, at least – there was a real carnival atmosphere,
“At last,” the people would have thought “our Saviour has come – the one who has been prophesied for centuries – he’s finally here!”
And their shouts rang out – “Hosanna in the highest – – blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord….”
Throwing palm leaves before Him – just as some cultures might throw rose petals or lay out a red carpet – when Royalty or someone of distinction passes by.
It was a great day – a wonderful day, aye but (and isn’t there always a but ??) aye but how long was it to last?
Well, as we know – with the benefit of hindsight – ‘not for long.’ In fact, in under a week – the mood had changed – from ‘hail the conquering hero’ to “crucify him – crucify him !! in just a few short days.
It shows the fickle nature of our human condition – and it shows how they mis-understood who and what Jesus really was.
And nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the crowd’s reception of Jesus on this ‘Palm Sunday’, because nearly 200 years before – there had been a similar reception into Jerusalem – of a Jewish ‘saviour’ – Simon Maccabee – the family leader of a resistance group who had ousted Israel’s enemies by force – 2 centuries earlier.
And we reed in the early, non-scriptural writings in the book of Maccabees – “and on the 23rd day of the seventh month of the first year – he entered the city with thanksgiving, and branches of palms were thrown at his feet and harps and cymbals played – and hymns and songs were sung – because there were destroyed a great enemy out of Israel.”
Wasn’t this the very same kind of reception they were now giving Jesus?
Perhaps they were expecting the same kind of ‘saviour,’ one who would lead a revolt against the enemies of Israel – in the same kind of way as the ‘freedom fighter’- Simon Maccabee and his family had done in their past.
By force – and by murderous, guerrilla tactics.
That’s what I meant when I said that they had mis-understood who and what Jesus really was.
They had been expecting a king of war – riding in on a white charger – a ‘saviour’ in the physical sense – who was going to save them from their enemies, but what they got – was the ‘king of peace’ – riding on a donkey – who was to be their saviour, in a very different kind of way.
Not exactly the picture they had envisaged – not exactly the ‘saviour’ they had been expecting.
But by the clever use of a kind of ‘reverse psychology’ – Jesus was making an impact – making a point – He was saying “No – I’m not a king of violence – but a king of peace.
See – here I am – no weapons – no impressive war horse – it’s just me and my donkey – and I’ll leave the rest in God’s hands.”
But this was no “happy day in the life of Jesus” – it was a monumental day in the history of the world!
Now – the end was now in sight ~
Or was it just the beginning!?
The day had come – as Jesus entered the gates of that ancient, holy city – a city with attitude – a city with a history.
It had withstood invasion after invasion – it had seen more than it’s share of bloodshed.
It was populated by very rich – and the very poor – the holy – the humble and the heretic.
It was a city whose religious leaders were far removed from the everyday lives of the everyday people.
Their ancient religion bore no relevance to their reality – the people saw only restriction and hypocrisy.
It was a religion of “Thou shalt not’s.”
It was a city in need of a God who would love and care for them. A city in need of a saviour – who would free them from all that they endured.
They were a people crying out for help.
Their traditions told them that God would send a rescuer – a ‘man on a mission’ – someone who would drive out the occupying Roman forces by the strength of his arm – a strong saviour.
Their hopes were raised – their expectations were high.
No wonder they cheered – no wonder they shouted Halleluiah! Hosannah! – no wonder they laid out palm branches like a ‘red carpet’ – for their Saviour to walk upon.
And so, it was into this melting pot that Jesus entered that day – riding on a donkey.
But what kind of warrior king was this?
What kind of hero was this??
Where’s the crown?? Where’s the army??
And riding a donkey ? – that was the means of transport for a merchant or a priest, perhaps.
Where was the white charger that a conquering king triumphantly would enter a city on?
But this was no ordinary king – no ordinary saviour.
Jesus came to save alright – but not by the strength of his arm – by the power of His love.
He was laying out his credentials – showing just what kind of king He was.
He was a king and a prince – rolled into one.
He was the king of kings and the prince of peace – come to save them – but not from the Roman rulers – but from themselves – from their lack of faith – their insistence on going their own way rather than God’s way – and to save them from the awful consequences of living a life apart from God.
But they didn’t know this yet – that’s why they cheered.
They were full of excitement and hope –
Jesus was full of love and compassion.
His very entrance into the city – was a challenge to the establishment – a threat to the religious leaders – an act of defiance to the Roman overlords.
But it was also a promise kept by God – to the people.
God’s promise – God’s pledge to send a Messiah – a deliverer………was being fulfilled.
That too – is why they cheered.
Jesus was fulfilling God’s promise – God’s plan was rolling on like an ever-flowing stream.
And so – yes – Palm Sunday was a day of celebration and joy – for many reasons –
but Jesus knew that it was all to go downhill from there, and it certainly did!! – with a vengeance!
That was the bad news – but there was good news too – there always is when Jesus is around!
God’s plan is still being worked out today – in you and in me – in all who put their trust, their faith, their life – in the hands of Jesus.
We all have birth, life and we will all, one day, pass away – but because of Easter – because Jesus chose to go to Jerusalem and fulfil God’s plan for him – we too can know a resurrection – to new life, both here and hereafter because of what Jesus did for us when He offered up his life for our wrongdoings – on the Cross.
Giving us – you and I – a pass into Heaven on that final day.
It’s what Easter’s all about.
And it’s that wonderful, brilliant, ‘good news’ that we celebrate at Easter.
No wonder the people cheered……..
Maybe we should get excited and shout about it more often too!!
And so – as we walk with Jesus, through this coming ‘Holy Week’ – let us give thanks for all that He endured, for our sakes – let us pray for the strength and courage to stand with and stand up for our dear Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The one who – in the words of the old hymn – “took F R A I L F L E S H and died” ……….
– for us.
For You an Me – and all who put their hearts and lives into His Holy hands.
May God bless this preaching of His holy word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
This morning we have heard about the triumphal entry of Jesus on Palm Sunday – and how – for us – it can turn things around – bad things to good – disappointment into hope – sadness into joy.
But here’s a thought – have you even given the poor wee donkey a thought??
So here’s a poem – written by G.K.Chesterton – which sees that day – from the donkey’s point of view ~ I’ll read it for you now ~
“When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon the thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.”
Many of us – like that donkey – feel unworthy – undeserving of Gods love – I know I do.
And if you feel like that too, then here’s a thought for you.
Just think of that donkey, humble – ridiculed – mocked – yet Jesus used him on that most important of days ~
He has a purpose, a use, for each one of us – however useless we might feel.
He has a purpose for you – if you will trust Him and let Him lead you – to do His will.
Just as that wee donkey did – all those years ago.
Mmmmmm – now isn’t THAT food for thought for all of us!!
I’m afraid that I will no longer be able to provide an AUDIO version on Sundays as I will be back in church on a Sunday morning. But you will be able to see it online.
It is our intention to record the Church Service each Sunday and so if you wish to see/hear the service you can do so by going to the Church website at kilmacolmoldkirk.org.uk – all lower case.
Each Sunday I send out 12 Audio Services and 3 Print only Services – and the same again on Wednesday’s. Some are church sites and other different groups and private sites.
I start posting out the Services around 7.30am on a Sunday morning and usually post the last one by about 11.30am. As you will appreciate, I will not be able to continue doing that once we start back in church as I will be leaving the house around 10am to get to church.
I will however, continue to post the Midweek Meditation in both printed and Audio versions as well as a printed version of my Sunday Church Service for you online.
So many of you have said how much you have gained from these services and while they might not be everyone’s cup of tea, a number of you have told me that you have been greatly helped along the way, during the difficult times of lockdown – and it has given me great encouragement to know that.
Thank You so much.
But until then – remember, Jesus gave His very life for you – that makes you pretty special I’d say!
And we’ll hear more about that next Sunday.
And now, live in hope, love – joy and peace –
Let us rejoice and welcome Jesus into our lives….
And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father – Son – and Holy spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families, your friends – and all who you know and love – aye, and ought to love – this day – and every day.
Can I ask you to sit for a few moments and listen to our closing song – “My worth is not in what I own – “such lovely words….. words for you and for me to ponder…
May God bless you –
and may He Bless your loved ones too.
Be sure and look out for the ‘Midweek Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.
Have a good week – and Please – keep safe
Please note that The Murray Chapel will be re opening for Private worship on Monday 29th March from 11am – 1pm
“Be still and know that I am God”
Psalm 46: 10