First Congregational Church
(United Church of Christ)
Greg Briggs,
Interim Pastor

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720
231-547-9122


Readings from April 14, 2019

Sunday                       Palm Sunday                                   Luke 19:29-40        p.1631

 

As Jesus came to Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he gave two disciples a task. He said, “Go into the village over there. When you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘Its master needs it.’” Those who had been sent found it exactly as he had said.

As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

They replied, “Its master needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their clothes on the colt, and lifted Jesus onto it. As Jesus rode along, they spread their clothes on the road.

As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen. They said,

“Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
    Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.”

Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop!”

He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout.”

 

 

 

 

 

Monday                     Cleansing of the Temple                                       Luke 19:41-48 

As Jesus came to the city and observed it, he wept over it. He said, “If only you knew on this of all days the things that lead to peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes. The time will come when your enemies will build fortifications around you, encircle you, and attack you from all sides. They will crush you completely, you and the people within you. They won’t leave one stone on top of another within you, because you didn’t recognize the time of your gracious visit from God.”

When Jesus entered the temple, he threw out those who were selling things there. He said to them, “It’s written, My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a hideout for crooks.”

Jesus was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests, the legal experts, and the foremost leaders among the people were seeking to kill him. However, they couldn’t find a way to do it because all the people were enthralled with what they heard.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday                      Temple Debates                              Luke 20:1-8; Luke 21 :34-38 

On one of the days when Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests, legal experts, and elders approached him. They said, “Tell us: What kind of authority do you have for doing these things? Who gave you this authority?”

He replied, “I have a question for you. Tell me: Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin?”

They discussed among themselves, “If we say, ‘It’s of heavenly origin,’ he’ll say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘It’s of human origin,’ all the people will stone us to death because they are convinced that John was a prophet.” They answered that they didn’t know where it came from.

Then Jesus replied, “Neither will I tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things.”

 

[this was only the first of Jesus’ debates with the Jewish leaders. It went on for some time, two whole chapters. Attempts were made to trap Jesus, and Jesus condemned the Legal experts. Jesus offered many parables.  This is how Jesus’ time in the temple ended]

 

“Take care that your hearts aren’t dulled by drinking parties, drunkenness, and the anxieties of day-to-day life. Don’t let that day fall upon you unexpectedly, like a trap. It will come upon everyone who lives on the face of the whole earth. Stay alert at all times, praying that you are strong enough to escape everything that is about to happen and to stand before the Human One.”

Every day Jesus was teaching in the temple, but he spent each night on the Mount of Olives. All the people rose early in the morning to hear him in the temple area.

 

 

 

Wednesday                Betrayal of Jesus                                         Luke 22:1-6

 

The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover, was approaching. The chief priests and the legal experts were looking for a way to kill Jesus, because they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, who was one of the Twelve. He went out and discussed with the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard how he could hand Jesus over to them. They were delighted and arranged payment for him. He agreed and began looking for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them—a time when the crowds would be absent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday       Last Supper, Prayer, Betrayal                    Luke 22:24-34, 39-46, 54-62   

[the following readings are only part of the story of Jesus’ last days. They aren’t intended to give you a full picture, but to whet your appetite]

An argument broke out among the disciples over which one of them should be regarded as the greatest.

But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over their subjects, and those in authority over them are called ‘friends of the people.’ But that’s not the way it will be with you. Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant. So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

“You are the ones who have continued with me in my trials. And I confer royal power on you just as my Father granted royal power to me. Thus you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Simon, Simon, look! Satan has asserted the right to sift you all like wheat. However, I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail. When you have returned, strengthen your brothers and sisters.”

Peter responded, “Lord, I’m ready to go with you, both to prison and to death!”

Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster won’t crow today before you have denied three times that you know me.”

 

 

Jesus left and made his way to the Mount of Olives, as was his custom, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived, he said to them, “Pray that you won’t give in to temptation.” He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed. He said, “Father, if it’s your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, not my will but your will must be done.” Then a heavenly angel appeared to him and strengthened him. He was in anguish and prayed even more earnestly. His sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he got up from praying, he went to the disciples. He found them asleep, overcome by grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation.”

 

 

After they arrested Jesus, they led him away and brought him to the high priest’s house. Peter followed from a distance. When they lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.

Then a servant woman saw him sitting in the firelight. She stared at him and said, “This man was with him too.”

But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I don’t know him!”

A little while later, someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.”

But Peter said, “Man, I’m not!”

An hour or so later, someone else insisted, “This man must have been with him, because he is a Galilean too.”

Peter responded, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!” At that very moment, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered the Lord’s words: “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And Peter went out and cried uncontrollably.

 

 

 

Friday             Trials and Crucifixion                                 Luke 23: 13-24

 

Then Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people. He said to them, “You brought this man before me as one who was misleading the people. I have questioned him in your presence and found nothing in this man’s conduct that provides a legal basis for the charges you have brought against him. Neither did Herod, because Herod returned him to us. He’s done nothing that deserves death. Therefore, I’ll have him whipped, then let him go.”

But with one voice they shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” (Barabbas had been thrown into prison because of a riot that had occurred in the city, and for murder.)

Pilate addressed them again because he wanted to release Jesus.

They kept shouting out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

For the third time, Pilate said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done? I’ve found no legal basis for the death penalty in his case. Therefore, I will have him whipped, then let him go.”

But they were adamant, shouting their demand that Jesus be crucified. Their voices won out.Pilate issued his decision to grant their request.

 

 

Palm Sunday Parade by Roddy Hamilton

 

silence

it is a strange thing at the end of a parade

silence

 

the echo of mayhem

the quietening murmurs of the small rebel crowd

now stealing into the shadows of alleyways

with whispered questions

of ‘what just happened?’

gather in a hush of silence

with the hope the stones no longer remain quiet

now that the hosannas have been stolen

 

something happened here

but no one can name it

and belief doesn’t dare name at what might have begun

a messiah arrived

but the kingdom did not

palm branches

and cloaks

were strewn in mock adulation

but heaven remains silent

 

faith tells us we must we wait longer

a different voice is coming

and another moment

to name love

 

and crush this ache

and break this ironic silence

with the sound of death

and the shutting of a tomb

Submit a Comment

Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.