April 14 2019 Palm Sunday-Passion Sunday

April 14 2019 Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday “Sunday’s Comin”

          We started this morning’s worship with a “life is so good” feeling.  There’s a buzz of excitement as a crowd gathers in the fellowship hall and we prepare to parade into the church.  We also get those neat palm crosses that the ladies group spent hours folding on Thursday.  There are leftovers from the Easter Egg Hunt we held yesterday morning.  Life is good.

          But now we’ve read the gospel reading for the “Passion of our Lord” and now “we ain’t feelin’ so good.” Betrayals, denials, rejections, beating, death this doesn’t feel like the “feel good” Sunday I expected for Palm Sunday.  Somehow I feel like how those disciples must have felt.  I’m right in the midst of Friday, Good Friday, the clouds have descended the rain is falling and my world is coming apart at the seams.  Ah, but unlike those unsuspecting disciples I know something, you know something, we know something…”Sunday’s Coming!”

          It doesn’t take much for most of us to relate to those lost and lonely disappointed disciples on Good Friday.  I get asked by folks a little more aware of things behind the scenes in the church, who know we have church members, friends and family who are struggling amidst life’s issues  They ask “How ya doing pastor?” and usually I respond “fine” but it really doesn’t mean “Fine.”  Often it stands for Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Erratic. 

It’s easy to be that kind of “Fine” when I think about: The loss of thousands of jobs up in Lordstown.  The recent widower trying to adjust to not celebrating his wife’s upcoming birthday after 56 years of doing so.  The couple whose relationship has ended due to an affair revealed after a shocking arrest for dealing drugs. The wife of an active alcoholic trying to find a way to be strong enough to deal with chemo treatments and an unsupportive and unpredictable husband.

          All this hurt and pain on top of me getting the flu a while back that kept me out of church unexpectedly which sent me to the doc, who sent me to an ear specialist who sent me for tests that discover I have an extra hole in my head.  No seriously the reason I needed antibiotics for 5 weeks was because the chronic ear infection I’ve had, culminating in a bad flu, the CT Scan shows the infections have eaten a whole in my ear drum, eaten away the bones behind the ear drum and a whole in my ear canal to my skull.  That extra hole is why it was so hard to beat the infection. But  I’m Fine!…Freaked out Insecure, Neurotic and Erratic. 

It sure doesn’t feel like Easter…It feels more like Good Friday.  Ah it may be Friday but I know Sunday’s comin! It’s an old phrase from an old sermon by African American Baptist preachers.  They would bring it out to preach to their congregation when the church had been burned down and the KKK was rallying in the streets and their jobs were being eliminated.  Life certainly didn’t seem hopeful or worthwhile and the preacher would list all their woes finishing the list with “and it feels like Friday!”  But Sunday’s coming, Sunday is comin, Sunday is Comin SUNDAY IS COMING!

          It’s Friday, Jesus is a prayin, Peter’’asleepin, Judas is a betrayin but Sunday’s Comin…its Friday, Pilate is struggling, the council is conspiring, the crowd is vilifying…they don’t even know that… Sunday’s Comin… It’s Friday, the disciples are running like sheep without a shepherd, Mary is a crying, Peter is denying, but they don’t know that Sunday’s coming.

          It’s Friday, the soldiers beat my Jesus, they robe him and scoff, they crown him with thorns but they don’t know that Sunday’s coming…It’s Friday, see Jesus walking to Calvary, his blood dripping, his body stumbling and his spirit burning,…but you see it’s only Friday, they don’t know…Sunday’s Comin.

          It’s Friday, the world is winning, people are sinning, and evil is grinning…It’s Friday, the soldiers nail my savior’s hands to the cross, they nail my savior’s feet to the cross, then they raise him u next to criminals…it’s Friday but let me tell you something, I know…Sunday’s coming.

          It’s Friday, the disciples are questioning what has happened to their king, and the Pharisees are celebrating that their scheming has been achieved…but its’ only Friday, they don’t know…Sunday’s comin.  It’s Friday, he’s hanging on the cross, feeling forsaken by his father, left alone and dying, can’t nobody save…OOOOh its’ Friday but WE know…Sunday’s comin.  Its Friday the earth is trembling, the sky grows dark, my king yields his spirit.  It’s Friday, hope is lost, death has won, sin has conquered and Satan just a laughs. 

          It’s Friday, Jesus is dead, a soldier stands guard, and they roll his rock into place but its Friday…its only Friday, you need to know…Sunday’s Coming!  Because I know “Sunday’s Comin!” Do you? I know my God of love is superior to this world’s god of logic.  I know my God of grace is grander than the Pharisee’s god of rules.  I know my God of promise runs circles around this world’s god of pessimism.  I know my God of “anything is possible’ is more powerful than their god of “it’s just not possible.” I know I know this because of Sunday!  Blessed Sunday!! Because of Sunday I know my God of life is greater than this world’s god of death!!! 

It’s Friday for a lot of us.  Perhaps it’s even worse than Friday.  Perhaps you feel like you’re living in that no man’s land like the disciples were on Easter Saturday.  The blows had been dealt, the bad news delivered, and the despair and isolation has set in.  Many of us can relate to being stuck in an Easter Saturday kind of world.  The devil has his weapons of pain and betrayal and hurt and harm and treachery, cancer and genetic deformities, debt and despair and depravation. And there seems to be no way to overcome them, no way of rising above them, Ahhh …but it’s only Friday…Sunday’s coming!

Its Friday people are saying the way things are so shall they be…you can’t change things in this world but I’m here to give you the good news it’s only Friday, we know… (Sunday’s Coming!)

Friday they’re saying a bunch of old people meeting in a church cannot alter things in this life, in their communities, in the state, and in the world but here is the good news.  It’s only Friday…It’s Friday and they’re saying a bunch of Lutherans limping into worship service dragging their palms behind them can’t go out energized ready to inflame their communities with the good news of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit but I’m here to tell ya its only Friiiiiiday…. (what do you know?...

That’s the good news people…are we ready to believe that good news?  Are we ready to live that good news?  Are we ready to say my primary citizenship is to God’s kingdom and I’m going to live according to the values and lifestyle prescribed by Jesus?

The world tells us the best we can do is live for Friday.  But I know through Christ’s cross that there is more than just Fridays.  I’m going to reject Babylon, I will not be conformed to this world, but I’m going to be transformed by the Holy Spirit to live out the will of God in this day, and in this age and in this time.  Are you ready?  (Gotcha …that was kind of weak folks) Are you ready?  The good news is it’s only Friday BUT we know… (Sunday’s coming) See you Easter Sunday Amen.