Today I watched the Palm Sunday service from the comfort of my bedroom, kitchen and backyard. When you are at home you find yourself multitasking because there are so many distractions. So there I was making sure I did not miss service, but finding others things to do. However, I started to think back to last year and what Palm Sunday meant then, and what it means today, and you know what, it is different. While I was not always still, the service provided so many meaningful lessons that I can now reflect on. overall, Palm Sunday this year for me is not about miracles, but it is all about surrender.
I was reminded through the gospel reading the example of Jesus, who in facing the greatest trial of His life surrendered to God with his prayer:
“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” St Matthew 26:39
I was reminded here that being vulnerable before God is not a weakness but a requirement.
It is a requirement in having an honest and meaningful relationship with God. I also realise that Jesus’ prayer showed his willingness to surrender all that he felt; from it I could hear His, doubt, distress and powerlessness at what was about to happen to Him. Yet he did not waver in his commitment to completing His purpose here on earth, in completing His mission:
“O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done”. (St Matthew 26: 42)
There are times in our lives when we say we look for our purpose, but sometimes it is not that we don’t know our purpose but we refuse to accept that that is the will of God because it is not our will. We hope that if we pray and hope hard enough another purpose will materialise, one that is more pleasing to us and not to God. We want to serve God but on our terms; it is as Jesus noted of his own disciples, a situation where the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41).
Another excellent lesson from today’s sermon,was the importance for us to stand and wait, and allow the will of God to be done. Now more than ever, we are required to slow down or completely come to a stand still. Many of us resist and for different reasons. However, while Jesus knew that Judas was there to betray Him, He did not remove Himself from the scene, He waited for the things that had to come to pass, and many of us do not have the patience nor the time to wait. We have become so accustomed to the mindset of. “getting things done now” that we have forgotten that we can do nothing without the Almighty, our source of life and light.
Finally, the service offered the reminder that suffering is a part of this life whether we want to experience it or not. We often, especially as Christians, think that if we pray hard enough for something and exhibit false humility God will be merciful and grant our request. We feel that as children of God our suffering will be minor or not last very long and ultimately we will be redeemed in the way we envision. However, by now, we should know this is not the case. While we can only see our lives frame by frame God sees the entire picture. There is always a greater good than what we experience and know. We operate based on our weakened flesh and therefore instead of being discouraged by suffering what we need to do is remain steadfast and stand fast in faith. (Rev. Fr. Howard Walters).
Finally, I was reminded that our faith is a choice. We have decided to take up the cross and that is our choice. Jesus decided to submit to the will of God and that was His choice. Instead of looking at what we are now faced with and surrender to fear, let us surrender to the hope that we have in Christ Jesus. Let us not be afraid to belief that God is at the helm of our lives and all that we experience is according to His perfect will for our lives. We may suffer and experience great pain, but all that we experience, is only for a time. Though the world as we know it may change, God is still in control, and truly, in our weakness is the strength of the Almighty.
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.Tweet