Today is Palm Sunday in the Western tradition. This commemorates the day of Jesus' "Triumphal Entry" into Jerusalem. This begins what is often called "Holy Week", and it certainly is important. Many years ago (25 or so) our church would put on a presentation recreating the Last Supper and Jesus in the Garden. It was called Tenebrae. A dark, dark recreation, but that is appropriate. What made it especially trying for Yours Truly, is that every year for about 5 years, I had a major role. Judas Iscariot. Tough. Reminded me, annually, that I too have betrayed Him. Makes for a very tough few days. Little kids would boo me as I came down the church aisle. So, every year, I would grow a beard starting around Christmas. I would keep that beard through the performance that night. And would go home and shave it off, throwing off the association. At least the little kids wouldn't boo me on Easter morning.
Two songs of the day, both came to mind during yesterday's activities:
We'll Soon Be Done With Troubles and Trials
I have to admit to a bit of preference for this version. This was recorded, live, by the Kingdom Heirs. They at least used to be one of the "house" groups at Dollywood. We used to live near Dollywood, and during the off-season the Kingdom Heirs would tour. They once came to a large and expanding church in East Tennessee where we were members, and I was fortunate to be part of the "backing" group for them. Sevier Heights Baptist Church, where this was recorded, was not that far from our home.
On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand (My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less).
Yes, it's true, and worth keeping always in mind.
This is foundational, in more than one sense of the word. Yes, it's based on the Bible text, Matthew 7:24-27. Where else can we stand? Certainly not on our circumstances, our own wisdom or virtue, our position or good looks. All can and will vanish. He will not.
Not a bad thing to keep in mind as we start every day, is it?
The passage today from the Old Testament is chapters 1, 2, and 3 of 1st Samuel.
This marks the beginning of a major change. The nation has pretty much gone downhill, and is in many respects little different from the nations around them, the followers of false gods, the practicers of evil rites, a largely corrupt people. But with some real exceptions. Samuel's family was apparently one of those exceptions. And Samuel, another of those children given by the Lord when the mother was giving up hope. And, having received a Visitation, in due time sent the boy Samuel off to work for the priest Eli. A good thing: Eli was a bad father, and his two sons were altogether evil. And the Lord was with Samuel. A good thing, he would be charged with some pretty tough assignments.
Samuel's name had a meaning, which may be "God has heard" (שם האלוהים Shem Alohim).
The name is still in common use today.
Pay attention to Hannah's prayer in chapter 2, it reminds us of the prayer of Mary/
I Samuel 2
I Samuel 3
Our New Testament passage is verses 1-34 of Luke chapter 12