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What of Palm Sunday? 🌿
What was it they saw in that figure riding up to the grand mount of the Temple on a working beast? Was his entry into Jerusalem a triumphant procession? An act of political rebellion? A forgettable sideshow among the multitudes who made their way to the city for the week of Passover?
Palm Sunday, which looks back to that scene, is a significant liturgical observance for Christian churches, but what is its significance? If it’s a celebration, it’s conducted in a minor key because it stands at the beginning of the drama and suffering of Holy Week. And those palm leaves and fronds and branches that we wave as we sing and shout “Hosanna!” — for whom are we waving them?
One last time, Jesus turns to the band of followers who had been with him from Galilee and tells them what to expect when they arrive in Jerusalem: arrest, sentencing, torture, death and at the end a surprising resurrection.
The response of the disciples is unrecorded, but the next thing they ask reveals a shocking lack of comprehension, at least to us who live on this side of the Crucifixion. “Allow one of us to sit on your right and the other on your left,” James and John ask, “when you enter your glory” (Mark 10:37).
Then, as if to emphasize the inability of his closest followers to see what’s really going on, Jesus does one last miracle before heading up to Jerusalem. He heals a blind beggar named Bartimaeus whose only request is to see and to receive mercy at the hands of the one he calls “Son of David,” a messianic title (Mark 10:46-52). It only takes a word from Jesus, and the man whom the crowd had tried to shush walks away with his faith affirmed and his sight restored.
“Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem is an unmistakable political act,” notes theologian Stanley Hauerwas. “He has come to be acknowledged as king.” And though it seems foreign to people living with a notion of separation of church and state, “his going to the temple is perhaps even more significant than his triumphant entry.”
Jesus doesn’t go to confront the “powers that be.” He goes instead to the Temple to look it over and then returns the next day, in Mark’s account, to cleanse it of those things that keep it from being “a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17). It’s this act that stirs the religious leaders to seek his death. Jesus has confronted them because “without true worship of God, there is no way to know what true politics might be,” according to Hauerwas. Jesus is reclaiming the people’s identity, an identity that is determined by their connection to Israel’s God rather than to any other authority.
So, they watch Jesus’ entry and wondering what to make of it as well. How much of a disturbance will Jesus cause? How much will the Romans be asked to do by their Jewish puppet king, Herod Antipas, in whose citadel Pilate is encamped? How much violent display will be required?
What hopes and fears did Jesus inspire in the people as he entered the city that day? All sorts of expectations swirled around him. He was a teacher, a healer, a prophet, a rabbi, and a challenger of the establishment. But some of them also recognized him as the fulfillment of the hopes for a new king, and so old royal praises found voice on their lips: “Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9).
Perhaps we think we know how to speak of Jesus now, after the events of that week all played out. We know now, better than those who watched him that day, who he is and what his kingdom looks like. We assume this. It’s very easy for us to cast Jesus into a role of our choosing, however. We still would like to see him come to champion our hopes and expectations and to disrupt and frustrate the designs of our enemies. Jesus leads us to the Temple, though, and points us to a God who upends all our notions of power and rule. Jesus’ kingdom operates with different priorities and to a different end. He is there among the people, teaching his followers the way of humility, offering sight to the blind, overturning tables, and removing every obstacle that would keep us from the living God. And if you can see the King in these actions, Palm Sunday has come.
Reprint from March 24th, 2021 Ministry Matters; written by Alex Joyner
Oberlin Community Choir 🎶
Come join the fun – Oberlin Community Choir will begin practice on Sunday, March 28, 2021. The cantata is under the direction of Mrs. Susan Nelson, with Mrs. Jenny Tally as accompanist. Practice is scheduled for each Sunday afternoons at 1:15 PM at Oberlin United Methodist Church (with the exception that there will be no practice on Sunday, April 4). Please watch for further details. Invite your friends to join us. Should you have questions, please call the church office at 785.475.3067, or contact Mrs. Nelson. Remember, those who sing, pray twice!
Great Plains Annual Conference Representative 🙋🏼♂️
We need a lay delegate representative to Annual Conference. Annual Conference this year will be virtual. If you could serve as a representative for 2021, please see Pastor Gordon. We MUST HAVE a lay delegate to represent Oberlin United Methodist Church.
All of the districts in a particular geographical area make up an annual conference. The words annual conference can refer to either the geographical area that make up the conference or to the annual meeting of lay and clergy members of the annual conference. Each local charge elects at least one lay member of the annual conference. The annual conference includes equal numbers of clergy and lay people. So, if a congregation is served by two clergy, then the congregation would also have two lay members of the annual conference.
A bishop presides over one annual conference (and sometimes two). The geographic conference(s) make up an episcopal area. The bishop in consultation with district superintendents and local churches appoints the clergy who will serve the local congregations within that annual conference. Bishop Saenz serves as the Bishop for the Great Plains Annual conferences (Kansas and Nebraska).
Annual conferences support the work of the local church and help local churches to be in ministry in the larger community. Many annual conferences operate camps and sponsor other mission opportunities for churches in the conference.
The Great Plains Annual Conference will meet virtually May 26-29, 2021. No travel will be required to be a lay delegate for Annual Conference this year. Please prayerfully consider whether God is calling you to serve as a lay delegate for Oberlin United Methodist Church.
UMYF Youth Meals
Youth Group Meals are needed for April 14, 21 and 28. The Sign-up sheet is located on the bulletin board in the Education Building, across from the church office. Thank you to all support our youth through providing meals for them on Wednesday evenings.
Anniversaries* & Birthdays 🎉
April 1 JoAnne Castle
April 2 Anita Montgomery
April 3 Tripp Raile
April 4 Jim Fogo
April 7 Jennifer Cox
April 8 Eugene Tally
April 9 Jody Betts; Sharon Johnson; Kelva Dryden
April 10 Nora Urban
April 12 Ravyn VanVleet
April 14 Lee Martin; Marcus Machart
Please be in Prayer for 🙏🏼
Kenny Black; Lynette Luck (Jessica Luck’s mother-in-law); Jason Ketterl; Greg Long; Joan Grafel; Amira Barzak (Donna Fortin’s great granddaughter); Jean Britton (Sharon Slabaugh’s sister); Jerry Alstrom; Russ Barnes; Joyce Pedersen; Tosha Garrison; Doris Sloan; Glen Stragey; Tammy Fredrickson; Terry Steinmetz; Jan Bainter; Jan Walters; Cathy Bouts; Hannah Abbott and family.
The family and friends of Dan Nedland.
The family and friends of Mary Anderson.
For Your Calendar 🗓
Thursday, April 1, 2021
7:00 PM – Maundy Thursday Worship - Sanctuary
Friday, April 2, 2021
7:00 PM - Community Ecumenical Good Friday Tenebrae Service at Faith Lutheran Church
Saturday, April 3, 2021
Sunday, April 4, 2021 – Easter Sunday
7:15 AM – Easter Sunrise Worship – Oberlin Cemetery 9:45 AM – Adult Sunday School
10:45 AM – Worship
Monday, April 5, 2021
7:00 PM Dorcas Circle – Fellowship Hall
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 – Food Box Distribution – watch for distribution time Wednesday, April 7, 2021
1:30 PM UMW – Fellowship Hall Monday,
April 12, 2021 through Saturday, May 1, 2021 – Pastor Gordon – Course of Study
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Decatur County Ministerial Association
Worship Online 💻
Did you know you can worship with us wherever you go? Head to https://online.oberlinumc.org/live to worship LIVE with us on our online campus on Sunday's at 10:45 am. Or rewatch our services anytime anywhere with our on-demand content available on our online campus - head to https://online.oberlinumc.org.
The ministry of Oberlin United Methodist Church is being experienced by many. Please share our website and online connections with your family and friends.
Follow us on your favorite Social Media Network 📱
Did you know that Oberlin UMC is now on Twitter, and Instagram, along with Facebook, and YouTube? Follow us on your favorite social media platform and stay connected with Oberlin UMC.
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Please continue to take care of yourself and each other,