Reflection - April 10. 2017

By Darren McClellan

published 4/11/2017
All glory, laud, and honor
to thee, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring!
Dear Friends,
Grace to you in this Holy Week!
First, I want to offer a big THANK YOU for those who took time to welcome Bishop David and Nancy Graves during their recent tour of the Baypines District.  This goes for our host churches as well.  Despite the inclement weather on Monday morning, many of you were able to seize other opportunities for fellowship and connection with your new bishop.. This was good!  As St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote in an early letter to the church at Smyrna, Wheresoever the bishop appears, there let the people be, even as wheresoever Christ is, there is the…Church.  Thanks be to all who represent this district so well.
Secondly, what a blessing it was for me to worship at FUMC in Opp, AL yesterday!  Watching the children of the congregation processed into the sanctuary waving their palm branches, hearing the choral ensemble lead us in our remembrance of the triumphal entry of Christ through the streets of Jerusalem, receiving the stirring challenge of the all–important question from the crowd: Who is this?   The experience was a delight to the senses!  I left grateful for the care of those who conducted the service and for the leadership of the Rev. Mark Lilly.
Following my visit to Opp, I managed to join in the later part of the worship service at FUMC Andalusia and the proclamation of Dr. Jason Thrower, whose message conjured in me an appreciation for the prophetic intricacies of the drama that is Holy Week.  The congregation’s attention to “the little things” was also exemplified in a brief Charge Conference held immediately after the service.
My afternoon concluded at Spanish Fort UMC as I joined my wife and children at the church’s Easter Egg hunt.  The weather could not have been more glorious, and it was encouraging to see the many servant leaders who helped to facilitate this family event.  A good time was had by all!
Even so, though the journey of this week begins with glory, laud, and honor, we recognize the definitive turn that will soon take place.  With the shadow of the cross now visible, the shouts of the crowd will almost immediately shift from “hosanna” to “crucify him!”  How could this happen?  Confessing that our current cultural and political climates remain in the echo of these contrary cries, we are compelled to confront the ease with which our own witness may digress from praise to condemnation.  
Difficult as they are to digest, these are some of the most important days of our lives.   In a little while, people will enter our sanctuaries in search of more than another basket of jellybeans.  What they seek is a genuine alternative to the forces of death.  And what will they find?  Will we too offer the latest wonder drug or therapeutic fix to explain it away? 
Or will we present something new—a revolutionary truth—the revelation of good news found in Jesus Christ?
My prayer this week is for a bold and effective witness to the gospel. 
Christ has died. Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.
And blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
May the Lord be with you!