Grace Abounds!
Sermon writing and worship preparations are a holy art. I prayerfully engage the living word with imagination, curiosity, and an openness for the Spirit to dance!
My hope as your pastor through “Neeley’s Notions” is to offer stories and perspectives to ignite your own imagination, curiosity, and openness to the Spirit. - this will be a periodical email offering as the Spirit leads!
There is something so very beautiful about Palm Sunday. You can feel the joy of children as they shamelessly wave their palms in the air and parents anxiously watch to make sure no one gets hit in the head with a palm as the children process down the aisle. The hymns of Palm Sunday offer a sweetness of the moment. And yet so much is taking place in Jerusalem on this day. A modern-day children’s palm parade of sweet hosannas juxtaposed with the political realities of the Roman Empire and what is to unfold in the days ahead. 

Palm/Passion Sunday begins Holy Week. We will open our worship experience with the waving of palm branches and then the events of the day shift and the story of the passion evolves.
I am cautious to move too quickly from palm to passion. We need to take in the sights and sounds of the day. Therefore, I invite you to not only read our scripture text for this Sunday but to read the Palm Sunday accounts in the other gospels. You will notice differences in the gospel accounts. Which one do you prefer and why?
Scripture - Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Click the gospel listing to read the full text.
“Blessed is the king
  who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
  and glory in the highest heaven!”
    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!”
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
    the King of Israel!”
"Hosanna" to "Crucify Him" to "Hallelujahs"
I invite you to think about what it means in your heart when you shout "Hosanna!" Hosanna is a proclamation of praise, a recognition of who God is. Hosanna in Hebrew means “Please, Save us!”
During our worship experience this Sunday you will participate in the transition from Palm to Passion. Our “Hosannas!” will turn to “Crucify him!” and ultimately “Hallelujahs!”
"The palm procession with ringing Hosannas symbolically foreshadows the Hallelujahs of God's promised future when the risen Jesus will lead his people into a new Jerusalem. The extent to which we understand the resurrection of Jesus will be determined by our understanding of his passion" (PCUSA). 
I pray you will take time this week to experience the movement of Holy Week by participating in our worship experiences on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. All are invited. All are welcome. 
At the bottom of this email is a full list of Holy Week events, or click here to see them on our website.
Video of Palmer Wilson, shared with permission, from March 2020
And yes, I love a parade! I also appreciate a peaceful protest that gives voice for the voiceless. On Sunday we will experience both as even the stones cry out! Until then enjoy this precious palm parade prelude from our Palm Sunday processional March 2020.
With love,
Neeley Rentz Lane