Someone please, PLEASE remind me that I need to take a vacation between Christmas and Easter. I even had last Sunday off from preaching, and I still feel too drained to face Holy Week. I don't feel like my treatment of Lent was really leading us anywhere logical which is interesting to me. I didn't really do a comprehensive, thematic Lent which is part of the reason. I also don't feel like I brought us anywhere together. My preaching was a little more to individuals than to the church, which is how I usually preach. That just makes it feel different to me. I don't know if I can articulate why.
I think I'm going to make a little break with the way I was trained in seminary with this Palm/Passion Sunday and go a little old school. They really pushed us to make sure we did the Palms and Passion the week before Easter to make sure our congregations weren't all triumphalistic. I remember being told that not many people will come to other Holy Week services so we better get the cross part of the story told when they were all there. I've gone along with that and probably for the most part it's at least somewhat true.
However, do we not also give people a reason to miss all those Holy Week services if we cover it all on one Palm/Passion Sunday? Do we have to be so pessimistic to assume they don't care? Could there also be a little bit of arrogance in the assumption that if they aren't doing it our way they don't understand the power and the importance of the cross?
Anyway, I think this year I'm going with Palm Sunday alone. My last Palm Sunday sermon really stunk (2009), so I think I'm ready to try it again. I will certainly allude to what is coming, but I'm not going to feel obligated to do all of Holy Week in one Sunday service.
So, with Matthew's version of Jesus entering into Jerusalem right now I'm chewing on the phrase "The Lord needs them." What does the Lord need? I don't think of the Lord NEEDING much, but the Lord needs things. It stuck out at me.
Also, there's the question "Who is this?" The people say a prophet, but throughout the passage Jesus is identified as "the Lord" (referring to himself), "the king" (by the reference of the quoted prophet v.5), and the "Son of David."
Not sure what any of this will amount to, but I'm still thinking.