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Palm Sunday

 Today is the day we celebrate Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem. We wave palm branches as they did long ago in ancient times. But I think one of my favourite parts of the parade, my favourite part of the story, is the donkey. Jesus riding the young donkey reminds us of Mary riding the donkey in the story of Jesus’ birth. In all the other stories Jesus walks or is in a boat – but today he rides a donkey. And when he sends the disciples to get the donkey, he tells them that if anyone asks why they are getting it, “Tell them the Lord needs it.” We are coming to the end of the Season of Lent. Now we enter Holy Week as we prepare for the joy and mystery of Easter next Sunday. Lent is a time, among other things, when we are encouraged to pray. Prayer is how we talk to God. We talk to God about things that make us happy, things that scare us, things we need, and things our friends need… but prayer is not a list of things we want; prayer is not giving God directions. And today’s story of Jesus riding the donkey reminds us of this. No matter what happens, no matter why we pray, God has a plan. Just as God had a plan and a need for the young donkey, God has a plan and needs each of us. And whenever we pray, we tell God that we know this. Jesus taught us to pray using the words we know as The Lord’s Prayer, and we say “Thy will be done.” This means we will do what God needs us to do. We pray, and share our thoughts and feelings, but we also express our faith that God has a plan for us, a purpose for us, and we trust God. Rev’d Ian

Sunday’s readings: Isaiah 50 v 4 – 9a Philippians 2 v 5 – 11 Matthew 21 v 1-11

Dear Brothers and Sisters

The greatest commandment Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV) These are verses many of us know well. We say them in services, we can quote these two commandments, but are we actually doing them? Remember these are ‘commands’ that keep us healthy body, mind and soul in our relationship with God. They are not just generalisations or things to do on a rainy day. Whether you are looking for something different or whether you want to take this opportunity to come closer to God, this is the time and place to do it. Many of us are good at the second commandment, but often at the cost of the first. As so many people are telling us life at the moment is 'unprecedented' so we also have an unprecedented opportunity to develop our relationship with God and with others. I will have some links available for Easter reflections next week, and I am putting together the Bags of Hope with reflections, fun activities, practical things, etc. Please let me know if you would like an email copy or paper copy, and we will try to ensure that all precautions are taken to ensure the virus is not spread. The Bags of Hope contain something for all, including family conversations or thoughts. It is not something where you start at number one and go as quickly as you can through all the tasks, but take time, reflect, some things may take a few days, you may even do more than one task at a time! God is interested in all of our life so some tasks are specifically faith related, others are more general life activities. You should feel free to talk with someone in your household about it, or give someone a call on the phone. Please let me know if you would like a copy and may it bless you in whatever place you may find yourself over these coming weeks.

 Blessings Rev Lisa

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