Monday, May 3, 2021

Sixth Sunday of Easter (B), May 9, 2021—Acts 10:44–48; John 15:9–17

These poems for Year B are all in my new book by Wipf and Stock, Lectionary Poems, Year B: More Surprising Grace for Pulpit and Pew. It will give you not just all the poems for the year, including five new hymn texts, but also an index of all 128 biblical references, plus a title index. Just $12 now (check or Venmo)(and cheaper than Amazon) includes tax and mailing for a signed/inscribed copy for yourself or a giftee. Buying multiple quantities reduces the cost even more! Let me know what I can send you: Write to me at  scott.l.barton["at" symbol]gmail.com. 

 

And now, for our regularly scheduled program:

Acts 10:44–48

Corneille Michel I  (c. 1601 – 1664): Baptism of a Centurion

 

What Will Be Is Odd

 

When those of us today who feel not blessed to have the gift

Consider how, back then, it gave the circumcised a lift

To hear in tongues the Gentiles speaking and extolling God,

We should not be surprised to hear that what will be—is odd!

Imagination's eyesight cannot see beyond its nose;

(Who would have thought the Jews would be the ones whom this God chose?)

So never doubt the future brings what we can ne'er conceive,

A God who loves means there is always more that's up God's sleeve.

 

Scott L. Barton

 

While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

 

+ +

 

John 15:9-17

 

Corrective

 

Perhaps the text appearing here in Eastertide

Forms a corrective to the solemnness oft tied

To Jesus' final discourse at this final meal—

Imagining he's sad, we think, so we should feel.

But I detect no sadness as he names his friends

To be the people who would love as he intends:

Not with reluctance, grimly, or with gritted teeth,

But here's the thing—it's joy to you that he's bequeathed!

He's chosen you! Oh, my; yes, you, to love like him!

The cup he offers you is filled right to the brim!

When taking on the love we see in Christ, we meet

O'erflowing, unadulterated joy. Complete!

 

Scott L. Barton

 

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

 

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Fifth Sunday of Easter (B), May 2, 2021—Acts 8:26–40; John 15:1–8

Acts 8:26–40

 


Rembrandt: The Baptism of the Eunuch (1626)

Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht

 

Ethiopian Eunuch

 

The eunuch of the Candace*,

Although the Nubian queen's trustee,

Could not quite trust God's love extends

To one cut off; since life would end.

While wond'ring who Isaiah meant

About the one who underwent

Humiliation he, too, knew,

Then, Philip, through the words cut through

To tell how Jesus was good news

To anyone by life so bruised.

The eunuch found himself beguiled,

And baptized, smiled to be love's child.

 

Scott L. Barton

 

(Compare the end of verse 33, "For his life is taken away from the earth," with the Hebrew version of Isaiah 53:8c, "For he was cut off from the land of the living.”)

 

*pronounced "KAN-de-si"

 

Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.


+ + + 


John 15:1–8

 


Jean François Millet, In the Vineyard (1852-53)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Bushels and Bushels

 

These days, I'm not so much a friend of vines;

I cut and pull them down from where they climb,

Unfruitful as they are, I pile and burn,

Such wild things that destroy, I spurn;

But other plants when pruned yield better fruit,

The grower who increases light, astute.

 

At Christmastime, my son-in-law went out

And snipped and snipped, with hardly any doubt,

The crowded branches on the nectarine;

While I stood by, he narrated the scene—

"More light in here; take out this crossing guy"—

For what will be is more than meets the eye. 

 

And so it is with grapes that Jesus knew

The reason in the first place you pursue

Their growing, is to get the biggest yield;

And thus it is, that we are in this field

Because the Grower has as sole pursuit

That all of us together bear much fruit. 

 

Scott L. Barton

 

(Thanks to the pruner, Lowell Miyagi.)

 

”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

 

 

 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Fourth Sunday of Easter (B), April 25, 2021—Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16–24

 

 

PIETER BRUEGHEL THE YOUNGER:

THE GOOD SHEPHERD (ca. 1600)

 

Psalm 23

 

The Shepherd King

 

The shepherd king provides for all my needs,

It is by grace (or think, "dumb luck!") I feed

Upon the love from people in my life,

My home, my meals, my mostly lack of strife;

 

The shepherd king protects me when I'm prone

To think I daily go through life alone;

In face of need, before me lies a spread—

Saved from devouring enemies, instead;

 

The shepherd king pursues me my life long,

And tracks me down to know I still belong

By grace to one who'll never let me go,

And surely—Wow!—such love I'll ne'er outgrow.

 

Scott L. Barton

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; 

he leads me beside still waters;

he restores my soul. 

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

 

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 

I fear no evil; 

for you are with me; 

your rod and your staff— they comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me 

in the presence of my enemies; 

you anoint my head with oil; 

my cup overflows.

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 

all the days of my life, 

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord 

my whole life long.

 

+ + +

 

1 John 3:16–24

 

Plan B for Jesus-Followers

 

So, if we're followers of Jesus,

For others we should give our lives;

But if such giving is too grievous,

If that's too much for which to strive,

The evangelist gives a second choice,

An option we might call, "Plan B,"

Which means we followers can rejoice

Because from death are we set free!

We merely need to help our neighbor

If we have any means at all;

Whether they're worthy, not belabor—

Just not refuse. Just Christ recall. 

 

Scott L. Barton

 

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.



 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Third Sunday of Easter, April 18, 2021—Acts 3:12–19; Luke 24:36b–48

Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)

Jesus' Appearance While the Apostles Are at Table

 


These poems and all the poems for Year B are available in my book, Lectionary Poems, Year B: More Surprising Grace for Pulpit and Pew, with a helpful index of all 128 biblical references (includes all texts referred to, even if they're not in the lectionary texts for that particular day), as well as an index of titles. Only $12 now from me, including mailing and tax, signed and inscribed to you or a giftee. Just email me your address to scott.l.barton[at sign]gmail.com. I accept check or Venmo. -SLB

 

Acts 3:12–19

 

Resurrection Intersection

 

It seems to me that Peter uses this occasion

To show the Jewish crowd there was a correlation

Between the death of Jesus by a crucifixion

And wounds of guilt which Peter speaks in malediction. 

 

But though the crowd's denial must have felt familiar,

He also realized that life is now transfigured

When woundedness and healing form the intersection

Of what is still the power of Jesus' resurrection.

 

Scott. L. Barton

 

When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you. “And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out….

 

+  +  + 

 

Luke 24:36b–48

 

Easter Meals

 

He asks for food, they give him fish,

Then they remember every dish

They ate with him along the way.

It is as if they hear him say,

"The loaves and fishes that you passed,

To feed a multitude, surpassed

What anybody would have guessed;

But that was just a beta test

Which you, my friends, can now repeat.

You're witnesses none can defeat

The love for which I lived and died

(Although in killing me, they tried).

Go out to all the world to show

Forgiveness that will overflow,

As through you, everyone rethinks

How love is now your food, your drink."

 

Scott L. Barton

 

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Second Sunday of Easter (B), April 11, 2021—Acts 4:32–35; John 20:19–31

 Acts 4:32–35

                  Vie de Jesus MAFA: Jesus Appears to Thomas  

Practicing Resurrection

 

Perhaps they thought they didn’t have much time,

Which made the way they acted so sublime;

The property they owned, they did not keep,

But, giving all, they made the have-nots weep

To see the real conviction they proclaimed:

“Now Christ the Lord is risen! Love’s untamed!”

Thus, having no more need for self-protection,

They still show how to practice resurrection.

 

Scott L. Barton

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

+ + +
John 20:19–31
 
Caravaggio: The Incredulity of St. Thomas (c. 1602)


It’s Not God If You Think You Understand 

Perhaps you think there’s something wrong with doubt,

And wonder if you might be less devout

Than others who on faith sound much more pure,

Reflecting by their words a love more sure.

 

But doubt in faith’s no enemy of mine,

And Thomas has no less of love divine

Than anyone who thinks, and yet risks, still

Believing that God’s love our lives fulfill.

 

The Kenyan Muslims who protected friends

Are blessed; while those whose certainty descends

Unto the hell of al-Shabab, depraved,

Reveal a faith by which they are enslaved.

 

Likewise, it’s clear religious freedom laws

When twisted to what seems a righteous cause

Devolve unto the wrong which just divides,

Confusing fervent love for God with pride.

 

Who knows why love forgives in Jesus’ form,

Or bids the Risen One now be our norm;

It’s not God if you think you understand,

The best of faith with doubt goes hand in hand.

 

Scott L. Barton

 

(“Why wonder that you do not understand? For if you understand, it is not God.” Augustine: Sermo 117, 5: PL 38, 673. In December, 2015, Muslims refused to separate from Christians when armed members of al-Shabab boarded their bus and demanded to know who the Christians were so they could be killed.)

 

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

 


 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Resurrection of the Lord (B), April 4, 2021—John 20:1–18, and Mark 16:1–8

These poems and all the poems for Year B are available in my book, Lectionary Poems, Year B: More Surprising Grace for Pulpit and Pew, with a helpful index of all 128 biblical references (includes all texts referred to, even if they're not in the lectionary texts for that particular day), as well as an index of titles. Only $12 now from me, including mailing and tax, signed and inscribed to you or a giftee. Just email me your address to scott.l.barton[at sign]gmail.com. I accept check or Venmo. -SLB

 John 20:1–18

 
He Qi: Do Not Hold On To Me
in The Art of He Qi


The Bottom Line

 

When Mary ran to tell the news he was not there,

And others' racing speeds by John were then compared,

One wonders why this hurry is so big a deal,

Unless the rush to know makes Easter less genteel!

They ran! They looked! And then went home, no doubt, upset

At one more insult, one more cause for deep regret.

 

But Mary stayed, perhaps she'd run, as well, and stopped

Outside the tomb, where running tears at gravesite dropped.

Remember how she'd cried with joy at Jesus' feet,

Because her life had changed from bitterness to sweet?

But now, her world and all she loved turned upside down,

She weeps in vain attempt to make her sorrows drown.

 

But then she looks. One wonders why. And suddenly, instead

Of empty tomb, sit angels where'd lain foot and head!

And then that gardener! And all ask why she weeps!

"Good grief! Where have you been? Have you all been asleep?"

Is what I'd ask. But Mary cooly wants to know

The whereabouts of his remains, who made her glow.

 

And at her spoken name, she turns, and says his, too;

And this, perhaps, is key to knowing him anew;

For not in running after, not in looking for

Him in the Gospels, or in fervent prayer galore;

But he will call your name, and you will finally see

That he still means it when he says to "Follow me."

 

Scott L. Barton

 

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

 

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

+  +  +

 

Mark 16:1-8

 

Here's another bulletin cover (front and back), courtesy of the late Richard  L. Manzelmann when he was pastor of the New Hartford, New York Presbyterian Church. I don't know where he found it, but I used it in various congregations. It's also nice just copied on a copier in black, on a heavy bright yellow paper.

 

Conjunction, Junction, What's Your Function?

  

Ephobounto gar it ends,

As strange an ending you'll find anywhere,

But take Mark at his word, who sends

Us back to Galilee to find him there;

I mean, the "for" connects us to

The start, because the women did not go;

They were afraid and told no one,

But Mark still has the Lord to us to show.

It's where he started out, Mark says,

Go back to the beginning, chapter one;

You'll find him where they found him then,

Now, this time, put yourself where he'd begun;

Pretend you're one of them who saw

Him by the Sea of Galilee pass by,

Pretend he calls—what do you do?

Does he, for you, move earth and sky?

Pretend in synagogue you hear him teach,

An honest preacher tells the truth!

Pretend he makes someone you love brand new,

Your hope is as it was in youth.

No resurrection scene does Mark present,

Instead, He'll meet you where you are,

Not at his tomb, but where you walk in life,

Not way back when, but here.

Not far.

 

Scott L. Barton

(In The Christian Century, April 4, 2006, Tom Long wrote about the awkward, "dangling" original ending of Mark, translated literally, “To no one anything they said; afraid they were for." That may very well have been intended to send us back to the beginning of the Gospel. The poem's title comes from the old PBS children's show, Schoolhouse Rock. Thanks to my daughter, Leah Barton, for remembering this phrase.)

 

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

 

 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Palm/Passion Sunday (B), March 28, 2021—Philippians 2:5–11; Mark 11:1–11

(A tribute to the late Richard  L. Manzelmann,

who many years ago used this as a Palm Sunday bulletin cover

at the New Hartford, New York Presbyterian Church, which

I then used in three or four congregations over the years.)

 

Philippians 2:5-11

 

Real Fundamentalism

 

Paul calls each Christian have the mind

Of Jesus, who was disinclined

To use the status he possessed

To save himself from danger, lest

The raison d'ĂȘtre for his life

Would fade at once in face of strife.

 

Instead, he did not fade, but grew

In hearts and minds 'til he accrued

The name that is above all names.

And yet, if we would still proclaim

This Jesus, what he really needs,

Is followers where he still leads.

 

Scott L. Barton

 

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

+  +  +

 

Mark 11:1-11

 

Donkey Rustling

 

How odd that Mark spends so much time

On things that hardly seem sublime;

It almost seems ridiculous

To know such details infamous

As how he got that ne'er ridd'n colt!

Who cares? Yet maybe his revolt

Against the principalities

Includes his personality

Involved in ev'ry action where

His followers, his name declare.

 

The coffee hour, the ushers' list,

The anthem sung, the meals dished,

The lesson taught in Sunday School,

The need to pay the bill for fuel,

The book group some came to in Lent,

The youth on mission trip just sent,

The prelude, bulletins, and prayers,

The greeter there atop the stairs,

The new hymn that the pastor tried,

The news a faithful friend has died . . . .

 

Such details of our life declare—

When done for him—that he is where,

By grace, we show that Jesus saves

By love, from cradle to the grave.

 

Scott L. Barton

 

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

 

“Hosanna!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.