Grace By Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Norfolk
‘Christ Enters Jerusalem and our Hearts’
The way Jesus arrived into Jerusalem is the same way he lived and died. “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek.” He concealed his great physical strength so that he could go to the cross for us all, and make peace between God and man. Jesus is a merciful, patient, compassionate, kind, and forgiving Savior. Even for the greatest of sinners, Christ came so that they might receive forgiveness and freedom from the power of sin. “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Palm Sunday is not only about Jesus coming into Jerusalem, it is about him coming into our hearts. The same way he entered Jerusalem, meek and lowly, is the way he enters our heart: “ye shall find rest unto your souls ... for I am meek and lowly in heart.” If anyone feels that there is no escape from their troubles, or their sins, Jesus says, “I am the way.” “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He came to bind the brokenhearted and to preach deliverance to those who feel trapped and troubled by their sins.
Today, Christ still comes meek and lowly. His Word and Sacraments don’t look very impressive by the world’s standards. He comes with words. He comes with water in Baptism, and bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, yet through them he attaches his promises of eternal life and forgiveness. Let us not be offended at his meekness, but welcome him, receive him, believe in him, as his Spirit works in us through his means of grace.
— The Rev. Wyatt Rosebrock
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Norfolk
Today we encounter the paradox that defines our faith: Jesus Christ is glorified king and humiliated servant. We too are full of paradox: like Peter, we fervently desire to follow Christ, but find ourselves afraid, denying God. We wave palms in celebration today as Christ comes into our midst, and we follow with trepidation as his path leads to death on the cross. Amid it all we are invited into this paradoxical promise of life through Christ’s broken body and outpoured love in a meal of bread and wine. We begin this week that stands at the center of the church year, anticipating the completion of God’s astounding work.
— Randy Rasmussen, pastor
Norfolk Church of Christ, Norfolk
I’d much rather spend my time talking about the love of Christ, the peace, hope and confidence we can have in trying times. But I am compelled to finish looking at the gospel as the power of God for salvation, Romans 1:16.
The series ends with a stern warning: “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9. When asking the question, “What must I do to be saved?” there can not be 10 different answers. The standard rebuttal is “we can all be wrong, but we all can’t be right.”
The question you should ask yourself is, “Do I know the one true gospel and have I obeyed it” and “Can I identify counterfeits?” Every step of the way, Satan attacks the gospel. The most effective attacks seem to be in discrediting baptism as part of the gospel plan of salvation. We’ll take a look at the objections to baptism and compare them to scripture for a better understanding of the gospel. “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” Acts 22:16.
We will be live-streaming our worship service on Facebook.
— Jeff Schipper, minister
First Presbyterian Church, Norfolk
With the COVID-19 pandemic has come a number of new words and phrases that we are encountering. Some of them are jargon having to do with medicine and epidemiology; they have been around awhile but we haven’t used them in “normal” speech very often. On the other hand, we have new phrases that are particularly directed to our current situation. One that has received particular notice is “social distancing”. We are now well familiar with the need to prevent the spread of the virus by avoiding physical contact, thus the need for this phrase.
We juxtapose our situation with that in this week’s scripture — Jesus is coming to Jerusalem. He rides into town triumphantly, riding the animal of peace — a donkey. This is a sign of the Messiah. Crowds gather to see him, with palm branches and cloaks being thrown down before him. He is bringing people together in celebration.
But look at our world. We humans are experts at social distancing — not necessarily the physical separation needed to prevent disease, but separation by social class, race, gender, ethnicity, etc. So, Jesus calls for what we might call “social undistancing” — loving and caring for each other as we unite in spirit. May we heed his call on this Palm Sunday.
We will continue to offer a recorded version of the weekly sermon on Facebook, and the worship bulletin on our webpage. We invite you to our “virtual worship”, and may God use this opportunity to “socially undistance” us.
— The Rev. Brian Johnson