By Beth Ferguson, Lay Leader and Member to the Annual Conference.
Today, we celebrate Palm Sunday, Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. the people cheered and shouted Hosanna, waving palm branches and placing them in the road as Jesus entered the city. The Psalm today is the prophecy of this entrance.
In the New Revised Standard Version, the Psalmist says, ”This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.” And in verse 27-28, “The Lord is God, and has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God and I will extol you.”
We know that the crowds will turn against Jesus very soon after His triumphant entry, and that he will be tried and convicted and crucified before the end of the week. It is Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that brings our salvation.
Jesus the Messiah is the way to enter into God’s presence. Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith, the reason that we can rejoice in every circumstance because we know that God is present with us every day, on our good days and bad.
During this time of the Coronavirus pandemic, we can be assured that God is with us: with those at home in isolation or quarantine; with those on the frontlines – EMS and healthcare workers; those who are still working to serve the public- in grocery stores and pharmacies; with delivery drivers; with those who are ill in the hospitals or at home and can’t have family with them; and those who are mourning the loss of life, but can’t have a funeral service. We may not be able to be physically present with each other, yet we know that God is present with each one of us. God is present with all of us, bringing hope and comfort and love.
So, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his steadfast love endures forever.
A Prayer from the Extended Cabinet
By Rev. Taesung-Kang, New Hampshire District Superintendent
O God of Creation,
You are indeed in our world.
From dawn to dusk; from mountain tops to beneath the sea; and from west to east.
When we gather in the sanctuary to sing to you songs of joyful salvation,
When we scatter to our own homes to offer our cry to you for help,
You are near us and surround us.
Have mercy on us, for in you we take refuge.
Help us to “see the Sovereign Lord is on our side.”
O God of Wisdom,
You are at work in our world.
Through the leaders of our world who make life-altering, community-shifting decisions for our nations,
Through the hands of first responders, medical professionals, caregivers, and researchers, responsible for fighting the new coronavirus,
Through the hands of grocery store workers and delivery drivers,
Grant them your guidance, wisdom, and protection.
They are how we “see the Sovereign Lord is on our side.”
O God of Peace,
Who transcends all our understanding.
May your abiding peace and comfort come upon
Those who lost their loved ones,
Those who are infected with COVID-19,
Those in quarantine,
Those at a higher risk of contracting the disease,
Those who lost their jobs and are facing financial crisis,
Those in undocumented communities,
Those who are adjusting to their new ways of life,
Give them your peace so that they may have no fear and their hearts may be at ease.
Help them to “see the Sovereign Lord is on our side”
O God of Comfort,
Who never grows weary.
Awaken us each morning with your hope and clothe us with your mercy,
And “open our understanding to your will.”
Give us your perspective and teach us how to pray.
Fill us with your comfort
So that we may share your comfort with the weary.
“Even if we are walking in darkness without a ray of light,
May we trust in the Lord and rely on our God.”
We trust God’s help is here.
God is indeed in our world.
“See, the Sovereign Lord is on our side.”