Word for the Week
Sunday, March 25, 2018 Palm Sunday Introduction
The first and second readings and psalm are the same this Sunday every year: Christ emptying himself of divine power and protection, willingly becoming vulnerable to those who struck him and put him to death. With Christ we lament his suffering and all human suffering, but expect God’s final vindication. Mark’s passion story begins with an unnamed woman anointing his head, perhaps to proclaim him Messiah, and Jesus saying she has anointed him beforehand for burial. Mark’s Easter story will begin with women going to anoint Jesus for burial, only to find that he has been raised, God’s living Anointed One.
Prayer of the Day
O God of mercy and might, in the mystery of the passion of your Son you offer your infinite life to the world. Gather us around the cross of Christ, and preserve us until the resurrection, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a
The image of the servant of the Lord is one of the notable motifs in the book of Isaiah. Today’s reading describes the mission of the servant, whom early Christians associated with Jesus. Like Jesus, the servant does not strike back at his detractors but trusts in God’s steadfast love.
Psalm: Psalm 31:9-16
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. (Ps. 31:5)
Second Reading: Philippians 2:5-11
Christ did not act to attain status and glory but was obedient to God even to the point of death. Following Christ’s example, we do not seek personal status or glory but care for others as God cared for us in Christ’s death.
Gospel: Mark 11:1-11
Jesus enters Jerusalem
Theme for the season of Lent
Once for All: Instantly Saved, Gradually Sanctified
Lent is a time for us to turn our hearts and minds back to God, to witness Jesus’ ministry, to walk with him on his path to the cross, and to offer our worship and praise for God’s overwhelming gift of grace.
The price has been paid … Once for All
1 Peter 3:18a – For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God.
Salvation is gifted, not earned … Instantly Saved
The chorus in our Lenten confession song encompasses the depths of the gifts of God’s grace:
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.
Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.
I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Our faith practices put into action … Gradually Sanctified
2 Corinthians 5:21 – For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
May we each walk our Lenten journeys confident in God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.