For use with Common, Lutheran and Roman Catholic Lectionaries
The texts selected for the observance of Lent 6 as Passion Sunday each year obviously emphasize the suffering of those who are obedient to the Lord. In the Series A texts, the psalmist suffers scorn and ridicule even though the psalmist is obedient to the Lord. The Servant of Isaiah 50:4-9a suffers shame and reproach even though the Servant's ear is always open to hear the commands of the Lord, and of course Jesus is said to have been obedient to God to the point of suffering the most shameful death on the cross in Philippians 2:5-11 and in Matthew 26:1--27:66.
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Peter forced himself to take another deep breath and sit back in his chair. He kept his breathing steady and felt himself start to calm down. There was a knock at his office door and his heart began to race. “Come in.”
Rose opened the door. “Have you got a moment?”
“What can I do for you?”
“I have a hard copy of the report that you asked for.” Rose handed him a stack of papers.
“Thanks.” Peter placed them on the desk. “Was there something else?”
Rose considered him for a moment. “Can I talk about something that’s troubling me?”
In this age of social media, the biggest thrill is getting a follower. A follower means someone likes the pictures or content you create so much they want to see everything you post. If getting a follower is the best thing that can happen, then when someone unfollows you it is devastating. For Jesus, the week of the Passion is a downhill spiral of people unfollowing him. First Judas, then the crowds, then his friends, one by one they all “click” unfollow on Jesus’s account.
Some of you experienced the victory of World War II. Others of us have at least seen on television old newsreel footage of the celebration of victory in Europe. Then came victory over Japan and other victory parades. There were no such celebrations after the wars in Korea and Vietnam. But after the Allied victory in the Persian Gulf we attempted to make up for all of that with tremendous celebrations and victory parades. The attention of the entire nation was fixed on General Norman Schwarzkopf, who was the man of the hour.
Call to Worship: When Jesus died, the centurion who crucified him said, "Truly this man was God's Son!" Let us worship God's Son in all our activities today.
Invitation to Confession: Jesus, forgive us when we fail to recognise you in other people. Lord, have mercy. Jesus, forgive us when we let ourselves down. Christ, have mercy. Jesus, forgive us for all those occasions when we crucify you afresh. Lord, have mercy.