Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A
Resurrection of the Lord, Year A

Liturgy of the Palms, Liturgy of the Passion, Year A

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 • Matthew 21:1-11 • 
Isaiah 50:4-9a • Psalm 31:9-16 • Philippians 2:5-11 • Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54

The scripture readings from Matthew this week (and there are a LOT of them) tell the story of Jesus returning with his disciples to Jerusalem, Jesus sharing a final meal with the disciples, Jesus being arrested and abused, and finally of Jesus being executed on a cross.

There is so much here.

This stretch of the story of Jesus is so important. It is setting us up for the story of Easter and Resurrection. As this part of Jesus's life unfolds we get closer and closer to learning if Jesus really was the Son of God or if he was a lunatic.

However, also included in this week's readings are two other short passages. One from Isaiah and one from Philippians. They don't normally get much air time during this time of year, but they illuminate something important for us to pay attention to as we think of the Passion story.

Isaiah tells us about the trials he has endured as he has attempted to follow the direction of God. He talks about how he has been Obedient throughout whatever sort of abuse has come against him. And it appears that Obedience has gained momentum and turned in to Confidence that God will continue to protect and sustain him...which helps him to continue to be Obedient.

In his letter to the followers of Jesus in Philippi, Paul encourages his readers to follow the example of Christ and embody Humility in whatever circumstance they might find themselves in. He points to the example of Jesus Humbly submitting himself and being Obedient to God. And in that Humble Obedience, God was there to lift up and sustain Jesus through the worst stuff that any one might encounter.

As you read through (or listen to) the Passion story this year. Pay attention to the places where Humility and Obedience show up....and see the places where Pride and Disobedience show up. How do they play out in this story?

How do they play out in your life?

The week unfolds with time to read and to think and to reflect. It's worth doing all of those things.

Abba,
the world draws us into places
of self-absorption, 
self-pity, 
self-aggrandizing.
We expect obedience
from others.
It's hard to imagine
choosing the hard way
for higher reasons
when simple
or pain-free
are options.
Help us look hard
at our lives
and give of ourselves
so that your Kingdom
comes.
Amen.

© matt & laura norvell 2011 www.settingourstones.org we want to share this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be with you.

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