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When I was younger, I struggled mightily with Jesus’ death on the cross. In fact, I struggled with the whole notion that God’s plan for my salvation required His son, His only begotten son to die a painful, humiliating death. More than once I asked, “What kind of God is this who would sacrifice His only son? How morbid can God be? Wasn’t there another way?”

Jesus, in his own agonizing prayer the night before his arrest, surely asked God if it were necessary for him to die. He was not shy in asking God to let him avoid the suffering that awaited him. He was, however, perfectly obedient to the will of his heavenly Father. God’s response to His son’s pleading was steadfast: Jesus must die.

But why?

I am composing this message while traveling to one of my family’s favorite getaways just south of Branson. We planned this trip months ago as a celebration gift for my wife’s birthday. I won’t tell you her age, but it’s the big one. That is not the big announcement, but the timing of the trip means that this is not exactly the ideal way to share the news I must share. Our Bishop, Cynthia Fierro-Harvey, has asked me to serve as a District Superintendent for the Louisiana Conference. I will be assuming the new role this summer, July 1. Although I will be leaving Trinity, Leslie will remain appointed here providing invaluable assistance in the transition to new pastoral leadership.

Is anybody suffering from the Post-Christmas Blues yet? It’s easy to become depressed after all the excitement. All the fireworks will be burned out by the New Year, and there’s no post-season remaining for my teams. The tree in the box or sitting by the trash piles of wrapping paper reminds us again of the bleak mid-winter.

Lenten Study Week 1

Jesus Triumphal Entry

Matthew 21:1-11

 

We begin our Lenten Study with Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. He and his disciples have come to Jeruselam to celebrate the Passover, one of three main Jewish festivals that prompt Jews to make the long pilgrimage to the Holy Land. As good Jews, it makes since that Jesus would want to celebrate in this place. Outside of the city he stops near the Mt. of Olives, a signficant area in the Jewish history, and gives the disciples some direction of how to prepare for the Passover Feast. In his dirctions to the disciples he quotes many Messiah Prophecies that would point the crowd to who He is. He also uses common symbols to signify his role as the King they have been waiting for. It was common for a king to ride a donkey during royal correnations and on parade. Donkeys are associated with peacefulness and humility. Doesn't it then seem right that Jesus would enter the city in this way? He is making a statement to the people that he brings peace, not a revolution of political advantage.