Hertford Methodist Church seeks to serve God in Hertford and the wider world through love and fellowship
I am writing this month’s letter as I also prepare for Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week for the Christian Church. It is when we recall again the final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry, culminating of course in his death and resurrection.
The set gospel reading for today is Luke 19: 28-40, where we recall Jesus’ amazing entry into Jerusalem, with cheering ‘hope filled’ crowds. Were they actually daring to believe that as Jesus enacted the words of the prophet Zechariah (9:9) that their waiting for the promised Messiah was finally over; that God’s promise to restore Israel and bring everlasting peace was now happening before their very eyes? It seems for their cries of ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ would indicate so.
I, purposefully, include the following verse (41) as I believe it widens our horizon, and therefore our understanding of what Jesus is ‘saying’ to all those witnessing his arrival into the great city. For even now amongst all this hope there is the shadow looming of what is to come. We do well to hear and see it as we step from today into the events of the following days. In verse 41 Jesus gives us a hint that God’s peace, hope and life will not be accomplished by overthrowing the occupying authorities through might, power and war. God’s ways are not our ways, as Isaiah reminds us 55:8-9. Jesus weeps for the city, and for all the world, as he recognizes ‘closed eyes’ and ‘hard hearts’. ‘If only you had known what would bring you peace.’ he says.
We need to look beyond, behind, the words on the page to discover the answer to Jesus’ longing for them, and us. We need to remove ourselves for a moment from the rejoicing crowds and look deeper into the eyes of the One who will bring us peace; peace that transcends all human understanding for it will bring with it forgiveness, healing, freedom from our past fears and mistakes, and life – reconciled new life with the God who loves us beyond our imagining. But … this will not be won through force, might or power. It will be won through humble suffering and pain, and Jesus will take upon himself all the sin and brokenness of all humanity that we might be freed from it and its power over us.
Today, rejoice and praise. Shout with expectation and hope ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ as you recognise Jesus, but then have the courage, and gratitude to walk with Jesus again the path and events of Holy Week. Allow him to walk with you too as you reflect on all he has done to reveal God’s love for you. I am sure that when we do, we are able to cry with even greater depth and gratitude on Easter morning ‘Hallelujah! He is risen.
God bless you and hold you as we step into Holy Week.
Minister - Revd. Debbie Hodgson - firstname.lastname@example.org