Monday Spot (26 March 2018)

The Palm Sunday morning meeting at Chatham was led by Major Karen Smith who began the worship with the song ‘Hosanna, Hosanna’ and followed that with a song inviting us to ‘Come into his presence’.

 Major Karen Smith

The congregation was invited to join in a corporate declaration based on Psalm 145:1, ‘I will praise your name for ever and ever’, repeated a number of times getting louder each time. A Palm Sunday video clip was shown (click here to watch)

A sense of adoration was brought to the gathering with the song’Alleluia, alleluia’, befor prayer was offered. Scripture was read from Matthew 21:1-11 before Major Karen spent sometime with the children. She had a battery powered time bomb which she set and asked two of the children if they could remember as much as possible of the story before the bomb ‘exploded’. The difficulty was that the delay was different each time the bomb was set so the children did not know how long they had got. They both did very well!

 

To conclude this slot the Singing Company sang ‘Raise your banner’

The ministry from the Songsters was ‘We saw love’ and the congregation joined in the song ‘My song is love unknown’ before Major Karen delivered her bible message entitled ‘The significance of Palm Sunday’. Summarised she said:

Have any of you actually met the Queen? Or even seen her in person? I did once as a small child. We were travelling and we had to stop and get out of the car and stand at the roadside with the crowd. Very soon we were all cheering – and then it w as over. We were at the right place at the right time.

All four of the gospels record the Palm Sunday event. The crowds lining the road and waving palms were doing it as a sign of triumph. We should note this as the event is so often missed because we  get lost in the happenings of later in the week.

I understand from history that another procession may have been entering the city at the same time but from another gate. Coming from the other side of Jerusalem this procession was led by Pontius Pilate. This was no ordinary entry into Jerusalem as it was at Passover which was held to celebrate the nation of Israel’s release from the oppression of Egypt.

So, was Palm Sunday an accident? No, certainly not. Jesus had been telling his disciples and others that ‘my time has not yet come’. He had an appointment to keep which had been foretold 500 years earlier and was, as it were, set in the diary. On Palm Sunday there was just one week left in the predicted time to the time of Jesus’ resurrection. His time had at last come. Those who hailed him on on Palm Sunday would reject him a week later! The crowd recognised he importance of the event but not its purpose.

In comparing the two entries we should note that {Pilate would enter the city on a white stallion signifying the power and oppression of Rome whilst Jesus entered on a donkey, signifying peace. He came to save lives as the word Hosanna implies.

Of these two groups of supporters which would you identify with? Jesus came to set us free but, after that day, the crowd turned away. The Pharisees did not want to be put down. The Romans wanted to retain total control. The disciples were unsure and fell on their knees. Which group are you in? Will you take up your cross? Do you see his lordship as something which will limit your life? How ill you respond?

The prayer song ‘In my life Lord be glorified’ followed and the meeting ended with the song of triumph ‘Ride on, ride on in majesty’.

‘Sunday night is music night’ was again the theme for the evening meeting with Nik King (Assistant Director of Music and Creative Arts at THQ) as our guest pianist.

Thew march ‘Vanguard’ heralded the start of the meeting and the song ‘Tell out, my soul’ began proceedings for the congregation. Nik’s first set of pieces included ‘Praise his greatness’, ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ and ‘Sposalizio’.

The Songsters brought ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’ (to the tune ‘Autumn Leaves’) and the Band contributed ‘Blood of the Lamb’ sandwiched around the song ‘Give thanks’.

Nik’s second set included more reflective pieces, ‘Fewster’ and ‘Come as you are’ before Major Nigel Schultz gave a short Bible message in which he likened the cheering crowds on that first Palm Sunday to those on the banks of the Thames for Saturday’s University Boat Race. Those supporting the losers were desolate as were the disciples when Holy week played out its sombre story.

The lovely melody of the song ‘Such Love’ brought together the Band and Nik for a final item.

We now look forward to a busy week of worship with a busy programme including a musical meditation on Tuesday (8.00pm) and a celebration of the ‘Last Supper’ at 7.30pm on Thursday. There will be Good Friday worship at 10.00am followed by a procession through the town in the company of other churches. All this concludes with Easter Day celebrations at 10.00am next Sunday.

If you are able to join us for any of these events you would be most welcome but please contact us in advance if you want to cone to the supper on Thursday evening. Have a great week and come back again soon.

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