April 5, 2020- Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday “Sunday’s Comin”

          We started this morning’s worship with a good feeling.  We’re finally getting together. We got those neat palm crosses that the ladies group spent hours folding. We got to beep our horns and blink our lights and all sorts of things your normally not allowed to do at worship.  Kinda cool! Feeling better.

          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 we drove in for. Palm Sunday’s supposed to be all unicorns or donkeys and rainbows. But now  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’m getting asked by folks, who know we have church members, friends and family who are struggling not only with COVID 19 in general but on top of that life’s tough issues. They ask “How ya doing pastor?” and usually I respond “fine” but it really doesn’t mean “Fine.”  You know what state “Fine” is, it’s that state of really bashed, crashed, crushed powder.  Psychologists hear this word so often they have an anacronym for it. Fine means 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.  The recent widow trying to adjust to not celebrating her husband’s birthday after 60+ years of doing so.  The folks dealing with chemo treatments and cancer surgeries.  All this hurt and pain on top of my wife prior to all the restrictions flying out to Denver to be with her ailing 89 year old mom for two weeks but now who knows when she’ll be allowed to fly back and my sister-in-law who’s a nurse on the front lines just diagnosed with COVID 19.  But I’m Fine!  Yeah, I Fine!!…Freaked out Insecure, Neurotic and Erratic. 

For most of us being told “shelter at home” It sure doesn’t feel like Easter…It feels more like Good Friday.  Like that day the disciples were so beat down by bad news they sheltered in place in the upper room afraid for their life and mourning the death of a friend.  Ah But you and I know something the world, so many unbelievers don’t know.  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 a message I’ve given before, but I think we need to hear it like never before.  We are people of faith, not fear.  We shelter not just in place, but we shelter in FAITH!  We don’t pretend our reality away; we don’t jump into blame games to relieve our anxiety on someone else.  We are people of faith, and in the midst of the darkest moments of life, blackest disease-ridden fear mongering times, we do not let go of God and God does not let go of us.

          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, disease is spreading 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 now deadly worldwide disease. 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 rolling into worship sitting in their cars 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 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.  The good news is its only Friday BUT we know… (Sunday’s coming) See you Easter Sunday Amen.