It is Palm Sunday in Lexington, Kentucky. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the trees are in bloom, a gentle breeze is passing through.
Yes, it's a gorgeous day in the Bluegrass, with weather and mood befitting a Palm Sunday.
Most of you know that I find great comfort and joy singing with the Chancel Choir of Central Christian Church here in my hometown, and I'm proud that Central is an inclusive body of worship, that is, all who follow Jesus of Nazareth are welcome there. I am also not very shy about telling folks about my musical and faith guru, our choir and music director, Michael Rintamaa. MR would never, ever call himself a 'guru,' but that he is...to me, anyway :)
Today, my choir backed up Jon Elliot's rendition of "Lord, I Want to Know You More," and Josh Santana's emotional "Were You There?" -- I'm glad I brought my hanky, for there was not a dry eye in the church!
After the service, I wanted to take a bud vase with flowers used in worship to my friend who has been a bit under the weather, but when I went to make an arrangement, I realized that there were no flowers. The sole piece of floral material today was simply that of palm fronds -- a lot of them -- in place of the colorful spring flower arrangements that usually adorn our sanctuary. I took one of the fronds, quietly left it on my friend's back porch, and prayed for God's blessing and healing in her life.
Holy Week has begun, and my prayer is for peace to begin with me as I remember the sacrifice given for me, so that I may redeemed and forgiven, and have eternal life. If you have read this far, perhaps you will not be offended if I share with you my Palm Sunday experience thus far. (Tonight, I am delighted I will be attending a recital by the magnificent tenor, Manuel Castillo, at the University of Kentucky Singletary Center.)
Holy Week (April 5 - April 12) commemorates Christ's entry into Jerusalem on Palm/Passion Sunday, the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, and Christ's death on Good Friday. Commonly called Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday, today marks the beginning of Holy Week.
Today we first remembered in worship Christ's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem when followers covered Christ's path with their own cloaks and branches from trees. The latter part of our service reflected the Passion Story and Christ's continued journey to the cross.
This is the sixth and last Sunday in Lent (Ash Wednesday -- Easter Sunday), Lent is a time of repentance and prayer, self-examination, and renewal in preparation for the celebration of Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. In our sanctuary today, there were purple cloths that represent the royalty and penitence; a wooden cross, pottery, and earthenware represent simplicity,sacrifice and somberness.
Upcoming Music and Holy Week Worship at Central Christian Church:
- April 9 - Maundy Thursday service at 7:00 p.m., Chancel Choir sings In Pilate's Hall and Thy Will Be Done
- April 10, Good Friday service from noon to 2:00 p.m., Meditations on the last words of Christ, Roberta Guthrie, Cello, Michael Rintamaa, piano, Josh Santana, "Were You There?"
- April 12, Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., Chancel Choir performs with EKU Faculty Brass an original composition by Dr. Johnie Dean, Allelujia, Allelujia, Pie Jesu, Handel's Hallelujia Chorus
- April 19 - Mary-Hollis Hundley, solo
- April 26 - Asbury College Salvation Army Band and Chorus
- May 10 - (Mother's Day) at the after church lunch: KidsSING musical "Elijah"
- May 17 - Pam Hammonds, violin
God of all, you gave your only begotten Son to take the form of a servant,
and to be obedient even to death on a cross.
Give us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,
that sharing in his humility, we may come to be with him in his glory;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever, Amen