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Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising, Michigan

Palm Sunday / Passion Play - 04/09/2017

On this Palm Festival and Passion weekend we also remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was born in 1906 in Germany. He was a Lutheran pastor, a theologian, and a spy in his anti-Nazi efforts, which ultimately led to his execution by the Gestapo on April 9, 1945, in the Flossenburg concentration camp.

Bonhoeffer is a really important Lutheran voice and I highly recommend reading his work. In The Cost of Discipleship, he wrote that if one is to follow Jesus, they must taken certain steps – they are steps in discipleship. In this walk we often step forward and deeper into that Jesus-following identity. Sometimes we step backwards too. Always they are steps on a life-long journey in which Jesus walks with us in answer to the prayer-full song we've been singing together throughout this Lenten season.

“I want Jesus to wal kwith me … All along my pilgrim journey, Lord I want Jesus to walk with me.”

We take that first step, Bonhoeffer said, and it is separation from our previous existence – separation from the worldly things that we let become our rulers, our idols – money, possessions, absolutes, power, war, beauty, attention.

We take that first step and Jesus is walking with us out of our old world situation and immediately into a new world where, guided by our faith, we live as vehicles of God's Spirit, vehicles of God's action here in our place of worship, in our homes and jobs, our relationships, in our successes and failures. Everywhere.

I was very much drawn into Bonhoeffer's steps in discipleship this weekend as move through these Palm and Passion scriptures. They began our service today with that jubilant procession of palm branches and shouts of hosannas as people entered Jerusalem with Jesus and now they will turn usto the more somber walk through Jerusalem and to Golgotha and a cross where God makes the greatest sacrifice of all for the sake of our sinful natures.

I invite you now to enter into that story in community as we read Jesus' Passion, according the Matthew.

As we begin, let us start with a prayer for the steps into discipleship we take now and as we leave here today too, in the shadow of a cross that changed the world.

Let us pray.

Almighty and merciful God, your intention for creation from the beginning is among us now as your son Jesus, the one who came to earth to teach us, to inspire us and finally to die for us on a cross that we remember today. We thank you for that, God. As we remember ourselves in the stories of palms and hope, persecution and lynching, we pray that you open our eyes to your ways with each step we take as disciples of Jesus. Move in us today, God, and then move us, step by step, in your world, that your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, through us, yes even us. Amen.

Pastor Ann Gonyea

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Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising Michigan ~ An ELCA, Northern Great Lakes Synod Congregation
P.O. Box 360 ~ 1150 West M-28 ~ Munising, MI 49862 ~ 1-906-387-2520 ~

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