1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
I love and long for the gathering of you, Church. I miss worship with you, people of God together in one place. Rejoicing in the Lord is so much more energizing in person! BUT… did you see what happened in the Treasure Valley on Palm Sunday? I saw over 300 of you worshipping with me at the same time! As of this writing, we have had over 1000 views! I could see comments posted while the worship service was streaming and I was rejoicing.
We cry out together, Hosanna! It’s unclear whether this solely a prayer for help – “Save us!” or if it is a shout of joy – “Look, Jesus is coming to save us!” I think it’s both. Whenever we cry out to God we can trust God to hear us. We have hope. Hope that God will respond. And so we try not to be anxious. We try to rejoice and give thanks to God. We bring our prayers and petitions to God as Paul instructs the Philippians to do. Then, we rest in hope and in peace. The peace of God – peace that transcends all of our human understanding – peace that keeps us focused on Christ.
We remember the triumphal entry of Jesus riding into Jerusalem, and we enter into this Holy Week with hope. In waiting for life to improve, we know it is going to get worse first. Experts tell us there will be more death. Fear of losing so much life is real. When I think about my own struggles, I know they don’t compare to the struggles others are facing. But no matter the struggle, the fear, the loss, or the joy, we all need Jesus. We need this Jesus to help us. And we cry out. Let us again join together in our faith and hope and love. We shout together, “Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!” As we shout for help in fear and in joy, we anticipate the cries, “Crucify!” The cries to crucify him are coming, and we can look beyond those cries in confident expectation of Easter morning. There is a new cry coming!
Holy God, we cry out to you.
- Anticipation of more death and loss is real, and we cry out for help
- Loving God, comfort those who are experiencing the effects of this disease.
- Let us be reminded of your presence through these difficult times with us.
- Excite hopefulness as we wait for a time to be reunited with others
- Lift up and strengthen those at the front lines
- Unite us as we worship you together around the world
- Instill in your church the strength and courage to face the days ahead
- And grant us your peace that passes understanding.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.