Palm Sunday: Jesus’ “Triumph”


Kindred in Christ,

I am thrilled to be able to gather again as one large group for worship this Sunday at our new location, and just in time for Holy Week! Like you, I have many hopeful anticipations of what this next chapter will be like for us as a congregation. Yet, as Palm Sunday reminds us, Jesus’ procession is a countercultural parade that is meant to challenge our preconceived notions of how we assume things should be and what success looks like.

Historically, the story we read on Palm Sunday (Luke 19:28-40), is referred to as “Jesus’ Triumphal Entry.” Yet I think we often miss the kind of triumph Jesus is inviting us into. We often want Jesus to pluck us out of the difficult and painful circumstances of our lives. Yet that is not what he does. Instead, he offers himself; all that he is and all that he has. He holds nothing back. Jesus redefines triumph through the life he lived and the death he offered. Where triumph for us might look like escaping vulnerability, risk, and suffering, triumph for Jesus means embodying a God who undergoes the risk, vulnerability, and suffering of a real human life. In Jesus, God enters the very places we would avoid and reveals God’s transformative presence, healing, and love.

So, as we celebrate our new site, and the new ministry opportunities with our host congregation, Green Lake UMC, may we also celebrate the God that is with us during all the changes and uncertainties along the way, as well. May we open ourselves up to following Jesus’ counter-cultural parade, which leads us through both the cross and resurrection, and reveals that we are never alone.

Alongside you,

Rev. Paul Ortiz