Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

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Palm Sunday - 3/16

God Grants Us Spiritual Rebirth

Palm/Passion Sunday
March 16, 2008
Matthew 21:1-11
Matthew 26:14-27:66
Bethany Lutheran Church


I have seen a vision. Suddenly they were there, coming down highway 41 and entering Ishpeming. They turned down third street and finally arrived downtown. It was like a parade, although this procession was different. Everyone came out of their houses to watch. People threw their parkas onto the street and they were waving evergreen branches for it was he, the Son of David, Jesus himself, entering Ishpeming. And he was riding on a dogsled.

Many of us have done a lot of thinking this Lent. Some of us have enjoyed the added time of contemplation and meditation with the midweek Lenten services. We have had addition time for fellowship over a very simple meal of soup and bread – a chance to inquire about one another’s day. We have sung evening prayer together and heard the gospel story told in a new and different way. And we have almost arrived at the end of our journey through another long season of Lent, for next Sunday the Easter light will rise to greet a new dawn.

But first, there is one thing that remains. Indeed next week we will celebrate the resurrection of Christ, but there can be no resurrection if there has not first been a death. We must remember the pain and the agony that Jesus went through – the praying in the garden of Gethsemane, the trial before Pontius Pilate and the whippings that scourged him – the crown our king worn, crafted out of thorns – the rough, unsandpapered cross full of jagged and pointed slivers which he attempted to carry as his broken feet dragged through the street – the cross upon which he hung high on the mountain Golgatha, the place of the skull. There was weeping from those who loved him. Only his mother and a few of his followers would remain with him as he died a slow tortured death. Then he would be placed in a tomb, sealed shut with a large boulder. Jesus, our God, had to die because we had to kill him.

We live in a fallen world. We are marred by broken relationships, powerful and hurtful words that we speak to denigrate those around us. We are terrified of those who are different from ourselves, we are afraid of what we do not understand, and rather than asking questions it is much easier for us to sit on the judgment seat. It perhaps even easier to hurt the ones we love most dearly with hurtful words, for in these especially close relationships we know too well one another’s vulnerabilities. Yes, Jesus, our God had to die, because we had to kill him.

Today we hear the story once again of Jesus’ journey to the cross. Today, we remember a little bit of what it must have been like. But a lot more happened than can be comprehended in only one day and so this week we will do more than remember. We will participate in the great paschal mystery. This week is the most sacred week for all Christians. It is at the heart and center of our faith. The story of Jesus’ death is much more than a story simply to be remembered, it is a story to be lived. We participate this week, beginning on Maundy Thursday as we celebrate the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples in the upper room. We will celebrate and participate and it will even almost seem as if we were there. On Good Friday, we will journey with Jesus to the cross and discover how real the pain of death is for each of us. We will even lie in the grave on Holy Saturday, as we keep watch and pray. We will experience it all during this holy week, especially the death, and we will discover once again that death does not have the final word, for after we have been buried, we too shall rise again.

So let us now begin our remembering. Let us now participate in our Savior’s death as we celebrate the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

Vicar Luke Smetters


Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor

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one such child in my name
welcomes me, and whoever
welcomes me welcomes
not me
but the
one who
sent me.”


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