Lord's Prayer

  • Palm Sunday is one of the few Sundays during the year where there isn’t a sermon. In part this is so that we take the time to listen to the entire narrative of Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, so that we reflect upon Jesus’ anguish in Gethsemane, His arrest, His trial, His suffering, His time on the cross, and His death.

    This is certainly important, but it’s at the expense of not spending much time focused on the events of Palm Sunday itself. There are very few events recorded by all four Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Mark doesn’t cover Christmas. John doesn’t cover Jesus’ temptation, Jesus’ Transfiguration, or the Last Supper. Only one miracle is covered by all four (the feeding of the 5,000). Jesus’ suffering and death are recorded by all four, but even Jesus’ resurrection is only pronounced by Mark. Jesus doesn’t actually appear risen from the dead in Mark’s Gospel.

    But each writer covers Palm Sunday and Jesus procession into Jerusalem as He rides on a donkey. Each author tells the story a little bit differently, but we see a crowd gathered that shouts “Hosanna!” which means “save us now.”

    What the people shouting “Hosanna!” wanted was an earthly salvation, a deliverance from a political occupation that left the Jewish nation as second-class citizens in their own land. Jesus did not deliver what they expected or wanted. Jesus delivered what they needed: salvation from sin and death.

    This is often true in our lives. We shout “Hosanna!” to Jesus hoping to be saved from one thing or another. And Jesus always delivers. He always saves us, but sometimes we don’t realize exactly what we need to be saved from. Sometimes we don’t realize that God is constantly working to save us from all sorts of evils.

    It is at this point that the Lord’s Prayer becomes so important, as we pray both “Thy will be done,” and “Deliver us from evil.”

    As we enter Holy Week, we pray Thy will be done, Lord. Thy will be done to save us from the evils that we don’t even realize are at our doorstep. Hosanna! Save us now.

    God’s blessings on your week.

    Pastor Andy  

  • One of the topics I get a lot of questions about is the will of God. People often wonder what God wants for their lives. Sometimes these decisions can be life altering. People often wonder: “Should I switch jobs? Should I move? Should we buy a house? Should we have a (or another) child?”

    These are tough calls. The Bible doesn’t outright give answers to these questions. So how are we to decide what to do?

    In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But how do I know if what I want is what God wants? Martin Luther once wrote the following regarding that section of the Lord’s Prayer.

    “How is God’s will done? God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.”

    There is a lot to unpack there, but I find that as I read through Luther’s words, I see that our God is at work. He is not idle. Our God is actively working to break and hinder the plans of Satan. God is actively strengthening and keeping us in the one true faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. Notice, God’s will is done when He does something. He doesn’t depend on us. We depend on Him. He conforms us to His will. I think in essence, we can say this: when we are strengthened and kept by God’s Word, we are on the right track.

    If, in the choice you are making, one path will lead you away from God and His Word, that’s bad. God doesn’t want that. If one path will clearly lead you toward God and His word, that’s good. God longs for that.

    Of course, sometimes it is not as clear cut as that, especially with the big decisions of life. And obviously, we cannot always see how things will play out, but we can rely on God and His presence and His promises to lead us in our decisions, no matter how big or how small.

    God’s blessings on your week.

    Pastor Andy

      

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LCMS logoFirst Evangelical Lutheran Church is a member of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a family of congregations focused on bringing Christ to the nations and sharing His unconditional saving Love within our community.

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