GET CONNECTED with our CHURCH FAMILY … responding to human need

From Acclaim to Abuse

Online Worship Service for Sunday, April 5, 2020.
To access the Bulletin, click on SAVE PDF to download or open in a new window

Our online worship is now available. Scroll down to see the basic order of service, but we recommend you open the Bulletin to follow along. If you have an internet-enabled TV in your home, you may wish to watch the service on our YouTube Channel. Access YouTube, then search on Lewinsville Presbyterian Church. (Just “Lewinsville P” should bring up our channel). If you don’t see the current video, shut down your TV and try again in a few minutes. Your TV screen will not refresh automatically.

Two things to do prior to the Service:

  • On Sunday April 5 in the morning, since it is Palm Sunday, you are invited to put a branch on the door of your apartment or house. This can be one public way of celebrating this special day.
  • For communion, you are invited to prepare for the service by gathering bread and wine (or some approximate substitute like crackers and grape juice, or similar elements). We will walk through the communion celebration in a way similar to in-person worship.

Click on the button above to open our online giving page in a new tab.  Don’t close this current tab. You will still hear our service when you click on the new tab, fill out and then submit the online giving form.  When you are done, come back to this tab to finish viewing the service today. Or you can text your contribution to 703-270-0451 via credit card.  Enter amount ($xx.xx) and then follow instructions you receive back.

Information on ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING … how you can participate.

ORDER OF WORSHIP

  • Welcome
  • Opening Hymn All Glory, Laud, and Honor, St. Theodulph
  • Prayer of Adoration & Confession
  • Time with Children
  • Prayer of Illumination & Scripture Reading
    • Matthew 21:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-9a
  • Sermon: From Acclaim to Abuse – Rev. Dr. Scott Ramsey (full sermon text below)
  • Affirmation of Faith: The Apostles Creed
  • Call for Offering
  • Offertory There is a Balm in Gilead, Arr. H.T. Burleigh
  • Prayers of the People & The Lord’s Prayer
  • Holy Communion
  • Communion HymnAn Upper Room Did Our Lord Prepare, O Waly Waly
  • Prayer of Dedication
  • Closing Hymn Go to Dark Gethsemane, Redhead 76
  • Benediction
  • PostludeSymphonie No. 3, Op. 28 Mvt. IV Adagio, Louis Vierne

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Please help us let people with no computer/internet know that this service will be available for their participation by phone (audio only) by 1:00 pm Sunday, March 29th or later. The dial-in number is 571- 261-7385. Thank you.

Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-708462

SERMON TEXT

Every year as we enter Holy Week, and this is true in a particular way this year, there are certain parallels between the earliest disciples and crowds and us today. They were living under the regular threat of the omnipresent, brutal, occupying forces of the Roman Empire, and as such, they were often on edge. We are living with what can feel like the omnipresence of the coronavirus pandemic, and many of us may feel like we’re always on edge. People are looking at each other with wariness and suspicion, neighbors and friends have differences about how severely to limit interactions, we wonder how long we will need to live like this, and it can seem like there is nothing else in the news.

It was into a similar kind of tinderbox of emotion and unrest and edginess and expectation that Jesus came, when he rode into Jerusalem on a humble donkey that first Palm Sunday. We can sense some of this expectation by the way the crowds were shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna!” Hosanna is a term from the Hebrew language, used in texts like the great Psalm 118, that means “Save us!” The crowds wanted Jesus – they were looking to Jesus – to save them from their trouble, which for many of them meant to throw off the heavy boot of their imperial overlords.

In a similar way, as we are entering Holy Week this year, we may be praying for God to generate a miracle cure, and in so doing to save us from our trouble. And while we should never preemptively put limits on what kinds of mighty acts God is able to do, we may notice that Jesus did not save the people the way they expected. Rather than invoking the angel armies of heaven to overthrow the empire, Jesus walked directly into the empire’s violence, in the words of Philippians 2, becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross.

When the people, in their anxiety and impatience, realized that things were not going to unfold the way they wanted, that Jesus was not going to save them the way they wanted to be saved, they turned on Jesus – in a matter of days – calling for his arrest, trial, and execution, treating him like the suffering servant in the text we just heard from Isaiah 50. He gave his back to those who struck him, his cheeks to those who pulled out the beard, he did not hide his face from insult and spitting.

That is the story that we will be walking through in the coming days of this week.     Through this entire story, from acclaim to abuse, Jesus keeps his eyes on God. When he is in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus vigorously lets God know what he wants – “Father,” he prays, “let this cup pass from me” – and so we do not need to let up in our own prayers for God to act in mighty ways to mitigate or alleviate or remove our troubles today.

But though he expresses the fullness of his desires to God, Jesus does not fixate on them. He walks steadily through his difficult, lonely, fearsome passage. And because he did, we can, too. Because Jesus walked his lonesome valley, we can, too, in the awareness that he is walking with us.

He is present with us in all of our fears, in any sickness that may come to us or our loved one, in every challenge that we face. He is with us, all the way, and we will never be alone. And, as we open our hearts and minds to him, as we intentionally set aside quiet time to keep open the channel with him in prayer, to ask for his help in making decisions and choices, he will give us his guidance and direction.

As we move into this most holy of weeks, let us remember that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. Nothing. Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor fears, nor disagreements, nor the coronavirus. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. We will get through this. Together. By the grace of God, in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, with the saving friendship and help of Jesus Christ. Amen.