Palm Sunday is always a favorite day

By The Rev. A. Wayne Schwab

[Luke 19:37]

I discovered this verse recently

“As he was . . . Luke 19:37

The RSV has it right – “deeds of power” – dunamis – our word “dynamic” comes from it

That’s why they were there that day he came to Jerusalem – his deeds of power – what comes to mind:

  • Water into wine, walking on water, raising Lazarus.
  • He’d healed a mother, a son, a sister, a brother.
  • And he’d taught so well – those stories.
  • The disloyal son.
  • The good Samaritan.
  • And always the same point.
  • This is what God is like.
  • Loving, caring, stopping evil.
  • Yes, deeds of power!

Power can be a scary word:

  • Power in the hands of the greedy is dangerous – the CEO’s.
  • The terrorist.
  • The sick man in Binghamton.
  • Real – but it’s not Jesus’ power!

Jesus’ power is loving, caring, healing, setting right what is wrong:

  • “This is a house of prayer; you’ve made it a marketplace – out!”
  • I will – be clean.
  • All of you come and I’ll go to yours – eats with all.
  • That’s the Jesus they knew – the Jesus of good power.

Now the great, good news is that Jesus shares that power with us:

  • Receive the Holy Spirit – as the Father has sent me I send you – why you will do greater things than I
  • have done – sure, our risen Lord is with every one of us, all around world.
  • Workers are taking pay cuts.
  • Why we even talk again about no nuclear weapons and ending poverty.

These are deeds of good power – and they are Jesus’ works through us!  Forgiveness is good; power to cope and overcome is better!

How we need this power – thanks be to God it’s here; he’s here:

  • This Palm Sunday to call to mind the places where we need this good power,
  • This power to love, to care, to heal, to right what is wrong.

Here are some places we need Jesus’ power.

*   *   *

There’s a lot of heat and a lot of anger about who got us into this economic mess.

The media keep us angry – they use all the loaded words – “What’s their gripe?” – hardly predisposed to understand.

Let’s restrain that anger with the power of Jesus to bind evil and help us to dialogue about what to do.

  • Dialogue – real dialogue – is a work of Jesus’ Spirit in us.
  • My son and I are learning to dialogue – the heat of argument is gone – in its place is real exchange and each of us is seeing the other side in a way we have not before.

Power to dialogue, not argue or retreat – out of dialogue God brings a greater good than we’d have achieved on our own.

  • Labor and management – fierce.
  • George was a senior warden.

So, let’s draw on Jesus’ power to restrain our anger and be part of the search for the way ahead together.

*   *   *

What about worry?  We worry about our income; whole economy; family – Can Jesus help?

  • He sure can – power to restrain worry.
  • Worry is wasted energy, wasted energy.
  • Remember Jesus’ saying, “Those lilies of the field – seek kingdom.
  • Be caring and just and help those without a job.
  • Not what you think you need, but what you really need – people who care and who talk.
  • Patience and trust that what we need is there – people.

Jesus gives us the power not to worry; do the little things

  • Make your home caring;
  • Make your town fair and just;
  • Make your work or volunteering places where jobs are done well – be competent.

“Your heavenly Father will give you what you really need.”  Jesus, give us the power to do the right and loving things in these uncertain times.

*   *   *

Time magazine’s cover story last week is “The end of excess; why this crisis is good for America.”

  • There’s more excess to cure than they see.
  • We all need to watch our carbon footprint – lights, driving.
  • To give our 0.7% to the Millennium Development Goals – our bishops have called for us to act:
    • End extreme poverty and hunger.
    • A primary education for everyone.
    • Promote gender equality and empower women.
    • Reduce child mortality.
    • Improve maternal health.
    • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
    • Ensure a sustainable environment.
  • Develop a global partnership for development – aid in development, not weapons (most of our US aid in years past, due for a change).

Making these changes – caring for others, living less indulgently – these all take power.

Be honest – we don’t have that power in us on our own;

  • We need help.
  • It’s in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

*    *   *

And help is here – “Lo, I am with you always.”

  • Jesus is at hand with all the power of the Lord of history to set right oppression and with all the power

of the Spirit to work through us.

  • That is the great Gospel – the power we need is here!!!
  • Power to restrain our anger and push to win an argument – rather power to dialogue.
  • Power to lay aside worry – give ourselves to caring for those without jobs to setting right what is wrong.
  • Power to make the changes we need to make – to reform our banks and to reform us the users of banks and loans and credit cards – demand honesty and budgeting our own money.

They came because they had seen his deeds of power

  • We’ve seen them too – we have
  • You’ve seen Jesus’ power – draw on it
  • To see God’s kingdom, God’s power

[The Rev. A. Wayne Schwab; Coordinator of Member Mission Network, Inc., President of Member Mission Press, Chair of the Spiritual Formation Committee for the United Church of Hinesburg, VT, Author, Speaker, and Workshop Leader.]