Palm Sunday – Love Conquers All

DSC_0250A day to celebrate Love, to Celebrate the fact that Love conquers all.
An exhausting week and Holy Week has not begun yet. Went to church this a.m. and told the secretary that I’d rather be in bed and sleep in. Then, people started knocking on the office door, talking to me, giving hugs and slowly a new energy started to creep out on me. There was Joy in being at the church building and being with the church (the people) all together…
Our Palm Sunday processional began and we started singing, “He Comes Riding on a Donkey”. All the time I was thinking what was it like to be in that parade where Jesus was riding on the donkey and entering Jerusalem from one gate of the city and knowing full well that the Roman emperor was entering the city from the other side. Two contradictory images. One, humble on the colt of a donkey coming to set the prisoner free; and the other, a warrior who comes in the name of Fear and Power to take prisoners and enslave people for their own gratification.
The Worship Celebration continued and included a wonderful Sacrament of Baptism of two brothers. Jacob, a three-year-old and Clark, seven months old… Their mother had advised me a few weeks ago that Jacob does not like water too much and might cry and make a fuss. I told her not to worry about it.
We began the baptism and Jacob started saying a few things to his mom and pointing to the Baptismal font. I invited Jacob to touch the water and not be afraid… He reached out to it, so his mom, who was holding him, got a bit closer to the font and Jacob was almost touching the water. I commenced the act of Baptism and started saying, “Jacob, I baptize you in the name of the Father” and put my water dipped finger tips on his head, and there was no foul reaction from Jacob. I continued on, “of the Son”, Jacob got his fingers in the water. “and of the Holy Spirit” and Jacob had his hand wet again and he put it on his own head, with joy.
How amazing is the power of the Spirit. The child that we were worried might make a big fuss about the water of Baptism joined in the act of Baptism himself.
After the conclusion of the Portland Worship Celebration, I made my way to Elgin, where another wonderful group of people were waiting to celebrate the One whose name is above all names.
The Gathering Song in Elgin was a medley, “Come into His Presence/Jesus Name Above All Names”. As I was soaking in the energy of love, the Presence that becomes so evident with the presence of the people, music and lyrics, showered me with more energy; I had a little flash back to over thirty-three years ago. I remembered that I used to sing “Jesus, name above all names” to my nephew Roy to put him to sleep and tomorrow (March 21) is his thirty-seventh birthday. Being invigorated once again with Joy, I continued on leading worship.
Almost at the conclusion of the worship celebration, Carl, our “Ambassador” of Elgin United Church, came forward and said a few words of gratitude on how the sermon had been a blessing to him, and he has not said such words in a long while and apologized for that fact; and filled my eyes with tears of Joy; because he confirmed once again that there is Love in the community of faith and when we get together, we not only energize each other, we lift up each other, re-member our loved ones even when they are far away and know that ALL that is experienced is a Gift through the Grace of the One whose name is above all names.
Words may not be able to express the amazing Joy, Peace and Contentment that is felt every time a worship celebration is conducted, but it is clear to me that there is power in Love that enters in humbly and leads us to life beyond death. May you have a Blessed Holy Week, where the agony of the world be surpassed by the love of the One Who Calls us to live our lives to the fullest. Transforming our hearts, transforming the world. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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