Wild Rides (Palm Sunday)

Sermons on YouTube…

So if you’re worshipping with us in-person today, you probably noticed as you came in that the patio project has officially started!  The two cherry trees have been taken down, and pretty soon there will be a section of the parking lot where 16 pallets of pavers will be staged as the ground is prepared…

This is going to be a really neat and fun project to watch as it progresses!  But it won’t be quick. It’s going to take at least a month.  It will make a huge mess.  And it’ll seem like a lot of chaos is going on around here.  It’ll be a wild ride!

When we were negotiating a start time with the contractor, we were originally thinking it would be good to wait to start this wild ride until just after Easter.  But timing for these kinds of things is always fluid, and so we told the contractor he could start as soon as he was able, because, as I said, this will take at least a month.

And so by starting now, there is at least a chance (albeit a small one!) that we’ll be done with the patio before our big Coffeehouse/Auction on May 14.  Maybe, maybe not.  But we SHOULD be done before the Yard Sale, which we’re planning to do again on June 4, and that will involve pulling all the Yard Sale stuff out of the shed in the back.

But you may also have noticed that there’s a big, blue tarp covering a pile back by the shed.  That’s the kit for the new shed, which Dekker and his Boy Scouts will use to rebuild our shed as his Eagle Project.  That will also be happening on the other end of the parking lot while the patio is going in on this end of the parking lot. And the shed project will probably still be ongoing during Yard Sale.

But at least we should be done with the patio and the shed soon after Yard Sale.  Because soon after Yard Sale, the solar panels – remember the solar panels we talked about at the Annual Meeting? – those should be going up around that time.

So, the next three months around here are going to be a wild ride!  And yet, we chose to start this wild ride just as Holy Week kicked off, which is sort of crazy.

But as I was thinking about it, I thought, “what more appropriate moment?”  After all, Holy Week is the time when we relive the story of one of the wildest rides in the Bible.  In fact, it’s starts with a literal wild ride as Jesus rides into Jerusalem and crowds of people cry Hosanna!

And like other wild rides in life, the first disciples probably experienced some of that wild ride as fun and exciting – certainly, the entry into Jerusalem must have felt that way.  But other parts were scary and painful, as Jesus was arrested and crucified, and as the disciples literally hid for their very lives.  And even as the disciples first experienced the Resurrection of Jesus, it wasn’t all joy and peace – it was confusing and chaotic.  And indeed, the Resurrection itself was the beginning of yet another wild ride in their story of following Jesus.

Often, because there’s always already enough chaos, confusion and stress in our lives, we look for ways to avoid any additional wild rides, or at least to delay them until we’re feeling like we can manage a bit better.  Yet the wild ride of Holy Week was not an accident of history.  Instead, that wild ride was Jesus’ way of bringing his disciples – and all of us – from where we were to where Jesus was leading us to be.

And it’s not just Holy Week.  Sometimes, the wild rides of our lives are the ways in which God:

  • Brings us out of the “death” of what was into the new life of what’s to come … (Jesus literally was bringing us out of death into new life by his death and resurrection; and often, it’s by enduring the mess and chaos and confusion that we so often want to avoid that we end up in a new and better place, which is hopefully how it will feel around here a few months from now…!)
  • Transforms us from spectators into participants… (there is a real sense that, up until the wild ride of Holy Week, the disciples figured they were just along for the ride.  But Holy Week changed all of that, and began the process of turning them into people who were active participants in the new life of Jesus; and that’s often what wild rides do in our lives as well – they can energize and transform us by leading us to live in new ways – and I’m certain that, even when a wild ride we’re on isn’t necessarily God’s wild ride – that God is still using all of our wild rides to do just that…)
  • Prepares us for yet more wild rides in which we can share the good news with others… (the experience of Jesus’ death and Resurrection – which the first disciples would have missed out on if they had missed that wild ride of Holy Week – gave the disciples the confidence and strength they needed to share the good news with others; and often it’s the case for us that living through crazy and chaotic times is what God uses to transform us into people who have the confidence to move boldly into the future…)

Wild rides in our lives often cause disruption, chaos and confusion.  But often, they’re also the means by which God brings us to new life and new possibilities.  So I invite you now to join in as we read the story of the wild ride of Jesus’ Passion According to Luke…