03-31-2020 – Palm to Passion Sunday
““Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.””
John 14:1-4 NIV
As we approach Holy Week we are celebrating this Sunday with what is known as a Palm to Passion worship experience. Some churches celebrate Palm Sunday and then celebrate different worship services throughout the week commemorating the final events in the life of Jesus Christ. Other churches like CROSSROADS combine all the final events of Christ into one Sunday. Since we are not able to come to special services during Holy Week, everyone is able to see the final events in the life of Christ within the Sunday experience. Together in worship we will celebrate Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Since you will most likely be watching from home this year, we would encourage families to either make their own palm branches or if they stop by the church we will have some outside in the planters people may take. Palm branches will be available for pick up Friday after 6:00 pm through Sunday morning’s service time (9:30). We will be singing two Hosanna songs Sunday and would encourage people to wave their branches wherever they are. You may even wave them from your deck or front porch. Post a video on social media reminding others it is Palm Sunday.

We sing Hosanna and wave palm branches during this part of worship reminding us that Christ is the King.  We will experience together Jesus with his disciples in the upper room where they celebrated the Passover Seder and then we will celebrate with communion in remembrance of this meal.  For those who would like to participate in a time of communion remembrance at home, we will have a time of prayer and encourage people to use bread and water (instead of grape juice) from your home. This follows an earlier Wesleyan tradition known as a “Love Feast” where laity would share in a ritual similar to communion without a priest present to bless the elements.
We will also re-live the passion scene of Jesus being beaten, sentenced and crucified set to pictures.  (It is somewhat graphic so if you have young children you may choose to end the service with the closing Scripture and not play the closing song – we will give a verbal warning before we play it.) Although the worship service ends with the death of Jesus, we are reminded of the hope of the resurrection that is to come. Pastor Paul, Pastor Deb, Pastor Dan and Pastor Mark will all be leading worship together from the Lakeville Campus with Lynn Suilmann and the praise team doing live music. We will be encouraging people to sing at home, and we will be streaming the lyrics on screen along with the music. 
Holy Week we are setting up a virtual “Stations of the Cross.”  We will do it “live” on Wednesday evening for those who would like to go through it together. We will also video tape the “Stations of the Cross Experience” so people can go through the stations anytime leading up to Easter morning.  We are still making plans for Easter Sunday by continuing to follow best safety protocols and yet celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus. We are considering an outdoor service where people stay in their cars spaced out in the parking lot. Some churches have been worshiping this way throughout the country. We would appreciate your feedback if you think this a good idea or not.
Jesus spent his final hours with his disciples before being crucified. In an upper room eating supper, he shared words to try to encourage them. He wanted them to know that no matter what happened he loved them. He wanted them to not be afraid or troubled. That is the same prayer Pastor Deb and I have for you. We want you to know we are praying for you daily and love you very much. We pray that you do not give into a spirit of fear but instead rely on your faith during these difficult times. May you continue to remember the promises of Jesus so we can be assured that we know we are going to a place prepared for us when he calls us home.
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn