Enter with Jesus
Richard Betts, Generosity Team Leader
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven.” -Matthew 21:8-9
I once accidentally found myself in a parade. I was in Singapore. One minute I was standing in a crowd watching as people passed by. The next minute someone grabbed my arm, and I found myself walking down the street as a participant. I have no idea what the parade was about. It could have been a celebration; it could have been a protest. Needless to say, I made a very quick exit, and all of a sudden I was no longer interested in watching the parade anymore.
How many of the crowd on Palm Sunday were accidental participants? One minute they were just watching and the next they were following along or waving palm branches, singing Hosanna! Realistically only the disciples could have really understood what this parade was about, and not all of them fully understood it yet. For many this parade was a shallow experience. They got caught up in the excitement of the crowd. Later that week many ultimately regretted being a part of a crowd.
How many of us have found ourselves accidently caught up in the crowd? Our lives are full of accidental moments, but Jesus calls us to deeper experiences. He calls us to be more than accidental followers and to become intentional followers. The challenge is to continue following him even when the crowd has gone and it’s no longer exciting and fun. Follow the Christ, who doesn’t always go along with the ways of the world, even when that leads to a cross.
This Holy Week, don’t rush from the Palm Sunday parade to the Easter parade. Go deeper, following Jesus to arrest, abandonment, trial, execution, and grave. And through that journey, may you discover the new life that is possible as disciples of Christ Jesus.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Lenten Spiritual Practices
Moving Toward the Peaceful One
As Jesus was nearing the final days of his life, he wept over the city and proclaimed, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41-42).What are the things that make for peace in our lives, communities, and around the world? During the Lenten season, spend time in silent refection or journaling each day to notice: Am I moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One? Pay attention to your attitudes, actions, and relationships this day. When did you most embody the peaceful One in your daily living? When were your thoughts or actions contrary to the peace of Jesus Christ? How might Jesus, the peaceful One, who is always near to you, be inviting you to draw nearer to him through your daily living?
Fasting and Giving-$40 in 40 Days
A Lenten fast gives us an opportunity to make space in our lives so that God can live in and through us. It’s a time to evaluate what we hunger for most and what we consume. This year, we’ve been invited to tithe as a spiritual practice by setting aside $40 during the 40 days of Lent. If you are participating, pay attention today to the dollar you have given. What might you have done with that dollar otherwise? How does Lenten generosity invite you to reflect on what is “enough” in your life? Who might you invite to join you in this practice? How might your gift be magnified by the many others responding to the same call?
You can make your $40 offering anytime during the Lenten season online or through your offering envelope for Worldwide Mission Tithes.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.