A Meditation for April 9, 2017

Please read today’s Scripture:
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 • Matthew 21:1-11

In the Church Year this is traditionally known as Palm Sunday. It is a moment of anticipating a victory. People in their excitement had lost focus and had decided Jesus would be a hero. He would now end tyranny, pain, injustice. How often as we listen to the Christian music today is this the same message. Jesus will come crashing in, angels will charge in, a battle will ensue and you and I will witness the somewhat chaotic dismissal of evil. Evil will be in disarray and the ultimate good, the ultimate presence of holiness, justice will be laid bare in the war that is about to be won.

Here are some songs reflecting this ultimate sense of victory.

At the Name of Jesus
http://www.hymnary.org/text/at_the_name_of_jesus_every_knee_noel

Doug Oldham
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDOq80C6Olo
The King is Coming

A PRAYER:

Lord God, a certain amount of our excitement is based on our need to be excited. As we face the uncertainties of each moment we then realize our ability to heal ourselves only goes so far. We like the people in Jerusalem look for a greater deliverer. Today we look for that because of our understanding of an ultimate hope and deliverance through Jesus Christ. Amen

Please read the following Evening prayer as well. .http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/poetry-prayers-visual-arts/walter-rauschenbusch-prayers/

THE MEDITATION:

Shhhhhhhhhhh……

Can you hear that?
Many years ago I was asked to speak to a group of elementary students, about 500 of them. The teachers could not get the children to quiet down. They fidgeted, whispered, laughed out loud, moved around, etc. I looked at the Principal who had asked me to come. Raised my hand as if you say, it is okay. Then I began to walk through the students and make the sign for shhhhh. Within seconds they then did it to each other. When the room was totally quiet I asked the question, “do you see him?” I asked the students to move over as he will walk down the center of the room. The students moved as if to make room for the coming guest.  Then I welcomed him.

Who was he? What was his accomplishment that even 500 students would sit quietly?

He was in our midst. I introduced him as “quiet.” I asked the students what did they not hear? the first child said car horns, another said sirens, another said fighting. As the list grew the words described more violent thoughts. One child said mommy and daddy not yelling, my brother not swearing, one child cried out bombs. Then everyone sat silent. There was quiet.

As I write this my mind moves to the hospital rooms and hallways of my past. I remember the times I just wanted life to end.  The sounds were no longer welcome sounds. Medical staff were rushing into my room believing I couldn’t hear anything. Staff were talking outside my door saying things they would not say to my face.

I just wanted it over.

I knew the end would come and everything would change.

I had to tell myself   Shhhhhhh…….  There is more coming. This is not the end. In the silence I heard the change. Just as in the silence the teachers and staff heard the change in the students, I would have to be like them. I would name my struggles but I would then give them up and surrender to the silence.

PRAYER:   Lord many people believe different things about the ultimate purpose of life. There are many thoughts about the end and the beginning of silence. This meditation today arises out of struggling with sarcoidosis. This month our attention has been drawn to the word boldness. I pray you give us the boldness to trust silence. I pray you give us the boldness to listen to the silence. I pray you give us the boldness to live and walk in silence just as the children made way for silence, may we make way for the power of silence. The scripture reminds us, This is the day the Lord has made, while we seek success may we always recognize with the crowds this is Jesus of Nazareth, the one who comes not just to bring life eternal but life with meaning and victory. Amen.

Chris Tomlin Amazing Grace
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbe7OruLk8I&feature=youtu.be

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