“Sorting in the Silence”
Adams United Methodist Church
Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church
Pastor Missy McCarthy
March 28, 2021 6th Sunday of Lent/ Palm Sunday
Reading: Mark 11:1-11
Response: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Children’s Moment: (Palms, Cloaks, Coats)
Today is Palm Sunday! We celebrate the beginning of Holy Week this week. This is the week we remember how Jesus came into Jerusalem, died and then rose from the dead. We remember that he loved us so much that he died to show us what greed and sin could do and that God’s love can overcome all of that and take it away. We used to shout “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!” as we wave the palms around on Palm Sunday – this year, we are going to just say Hosanna, march and wave the palms! We have to modify it a little, but at least we can still do it mostly.
So just as Jesus was entering the city from one side – guess what? Pilate was entering from the other side. Jesus was on a donkey and the poor people, the Jews, and the ones who did not have anyone to stick up for them were celebrating Jesus coming to town. They were more excited to see Jesus then Pilate and that made Pilate upset. Then that week, Jesus spoke out against some of the stuff the Jewish leaders were doing in the Temple. He spoke about how they should be behaving. That made the leaders, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Romans even more angry with Jesus. He was helping the poor people, reminding the leaders that their job was to serve and to help those who had less than they did. It made people mad, and Jesus knew it was not popular, but he loved people so much he had to do it.
How can we celebrate loving people this week as we get ready for Easter? Where can we put our Palm crosses to remind us to go out of our way to love people?
Scripture: (Mark 14)
Reflection: “Sorting in the Silence”
Today, we celebrate the last Sunday of Lent. Our last spiritual practice for the season this year is – Silence. We see Jesus here wrestling in the silence of the garden in Gethsemane. We also see his disciples struggling to stay awake and listen in the silence.
What is it about silence that bothers us so much? When we are struggling with what God is calling us to do, a problem or situation we are dealing with, a person, or trouble we are in, we find it easier to complain about it then offer it to God in silence and wait or wrestle with it. We want answers, sitting and noticing what is happening is hard. Waiting for a response from God, especially if it is not one, we want is even harder. Silence brings up things we would rather not think about, so we fill it with chatter, distractions, grab your phone, turn on the t.v., put on the music, but to sit with Jesus or God in the silence….mmm that is tough. The disciples even struggle with it in the garden.
Yet Jesus shows us that this is exactly what we are called to do when faced with tough situations, even impossible situations. He knew he was to be betrayed by one of his own. He knew he was facing the cross, and a horrible painful death. He felt anxious. He felt despair. He was so very sad that he was being betrayed by those he loved. He was powerful enough to stop it. He wrestled in the garden with it. Listening. Hearing. Knowing.
Have you ever been there? Sad, anxious, despairing? Asked your friends to be with you, and felt like they failed you, or felt like they were asleep on the job like Peter and Andrew – not there in your hour of need?
That is the thing with sitting in the silence and literally offering it over to God. You don’t always get the answers you want, but silence gives us a chance to sort, wrestle with the realities of the situation and hear God speaking to us. When we sit with a problem, our despair, our hurt with God we stop complaining and justifying our own version of the story and start hearing where God is in it. We can begin to see where God is working even if we don’t like what we have to go through or what we have to do to get through it. Some people call intuition, others call it the still small voice of God whispering to us, but it is that knowing deep in the soul that tells us what to do. The problem is you have to be quiet enough to hear it and let God whisper into you through it. You have to be willing to sit with Jesus in the garden, and sit in the uncomfortableness sometimes to get to the other side of it. When we spend time in silence a way, a path through becomes apparent and we know what must be done because we can hear God in it….if we never spend time in the silence we rush around bouncing off of walls and jumping from one thing to another convincing ourselves we are right and our version of the story, our version of reality is the only one that matters. We rationalize our way through life and the people we hurt on the way and the ones we talk bad about as we do it. We are the heroes of our own stories. The problem with that is sometimes we are the villains of someone else’s. If we never sit with Jesus in the silence, we don’t face the hard truths, we don’t make the hard decisions and we don’t become more like Jesus. We never become brave enough to love like Jesus.
This week our challenge as we get ready for the celebration of Easter is to sit in silence every day for at least five minutes offering that silence to Jesus. We will be doing our workshop on meditation and actually practicing meditation this Wednesday. If you missed a workshop and would like a recording, let me know and I can email it to you.
“Old Rugged Cross” Shared with us by Gwen and Patrick McCarroll
Monday – Ecclesiastes 3:7-8
Tuesday – Proverbs 17:27-28
Wednesday – Proverbs 19:20-21
Maundy Thursday – Psalm 62:5-7
Good Friday – Exodus 3:4-5