Scripture: Psalm 148
Key verses: (11-13)
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
Reflection: We begin Holy Week this Sunday. It starts with a parade, and ends with a joyous celebration on Easter. There will be rejoicing with palms on one end of the week, and the Hallelujah chorus on the other end. For Jesus, so much happened in between. To be a follower of Jesus means that we must walk with him through the whole of this upcoming week. His is not a path from one triumph to another. His path leads to an upper room where he shared a strange meal with his friends. His path led into a garden where he prayed anguished prayers to God, then was betrayed by one of his friends. His path led to a trial, to humiliation and crucifixion on a cross. His path led to death and grief. In order to experience resurrection, there must first be the reality of death.
One of the Easter traditions I love at Myers Park Presbyterian is our flowered cross. On Easter Sunday we invite people to bring fresh flowers to place on a plain wooden cross. Over the course of the morning it is transformed from a bare reminder of Jesus’ death, into a glorious image of new life. I love seeing people hunt for just the right spot to place their daffodil or azalea sprig, and take photos in front of the cross. The beauty of it is not in the flowers, or the color-coordinated Easter outfits, and smiling faces of people in front of it. The beauty is in the transformation from death to new life. Do you want to celebrate Easter with more than chocolate bunnies and a nice brunch? Do you want it to be about more than your favorite hymn and some family time? Do you want an Easter where you celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and God’s transforming power, and not just (we hope) a sunny spring day?
Join us this week as we walk all the way through Holy Week with Jesus, from the parade on Palm Sunday, to the upper room on Maundy Thursday, to the sadness of Good Friday. We will have services on Thursday and Friday nights. The parlor will be open all week for all ages with prayer stations of the cross provided by our children. We’ll have centering prayer each weekday at noon. If you can’t be with us in person, take time to read in your Bible through all the events of the last week of Jesus’ life. Then join us on Easter Sunday in person, or by livestream, so we can truly praise the name of the Lord together.
Prayer: Lord, prepare me to follow you. Help me join in the parade, then walk the way of the cross, all the way to the end, with you. Then Lord, by your mercy, bring me to a glorious Easter celebration of your resurrection. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].