When Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem on a small donkey long ago, he was carrying out Your will. It was a glorious day as he was met by adoring crowds who celebrated his triumphant entry as a King. Within hours, however, these same crowds turned against him and were crying out for his crucifixion because he had failed to fulfil their hopes and dreams.
On this Palm Sunday when we celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem as a different kind of King of a different kind of Kingdom, we confess we sometimes are guilty of trying to make Jesus into what we want him to be instead of welcoming him for who he is.
On this Palm Sunday when we focus on joyous crowds, happy children and palm fronds, we confess we too readily forget that what happened on that day would lead to his rejection, torture and execution instead of seeing Your larger plan.
On this Palm Sunday when we are overwhelmed with so much brokenness, suffering and struggle all around us and in our own lives, we confess we too easily long for Jesus to be at our beck and call instead of finding our place in Your Kingdom.
On this Palm Sunday when we come face-to-face with the reality of who we are and what we do, we pray You will stir our souls, deepen our desire to be faithful disciples of Jesus and seek to do Your will every day in every single thing we do.
Lord, in Your mercy hear our prayer.
You may look in the mirror and not like what you see. You may be disgusted with yourself for some of the thoughts that cross your mind. And you may think you’re a loser because you have messed up yet again. But what you may see, feel and think is not what God sees, feels and thinks. God sees someone created uniquely in God’s image. God loves you passionately regardless of what you think about yourself. And God knows you are a winner because Jesus has changed everything about you through his death on the cross. So when life gets tough, don’t get tough on yourself – love yourself the way God already loves you.
Theorizing about the existence of God, believing something about God and believing in God is important. However it’s not the same as fervently seeking God on God’s terms, trusting God so much your relationship shapes every single aspect of your life and making the doing of God’s will the single most important thing in your life. Yet all too often, this is exactly what happens because you opt to keep God at arms’ length by trying to make God into a theory to be discussed instead of the most important thing in your life. So don’t be surprised when you feel like something’s missing in your life. Because it is.
Sometimes I write lists, organize and attempt to take control in my desire to bring order in the chaos of my life. Okay, I actually do it a lot. And it can be helpful. Sometimes, extremely so. But it also can only take me so far. In part, because I can only be disciplined so long. But even more importantly, because there is so much of life that is far beyond my ability to control. This means I have come to grips with a fundamental reality in life – I need to spend less time trying to control the outcome of my life and a whole lot more time seeking to follow the way the Holy Spirit is trying to guide it. Honestly, it can be a struggle. But in the end it’s worth it. Because Spirit-led is always better than me-controlled.
DALLAS (SMU) – “Words Matter: The Intersectionality of Race, Religion and Public Policy”, a Zoom webinar, will be held at 7 p.m. on April 19, 2021. The event is sponsored by Perkins School of Theology’s Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions and the Department of World Languages and Literature at Dedman School of the Humanities and Sciences.
The webinar will host academicians as well as community leaders as they explore the power of language in the intersection of race, religion and public policy and will look at how that is reflected in the ways that different groups thrive while others remain marginalized. Participants will be invited to examine the impact of language – the power of words – through this lens.
Panelists include: Dr. Evelyn Parker, Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology, Perkins School of Theology, SMU; Dr. Alberto Pastor, Associate Professor of Spanish, Department of World Languages and Literature, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, SMU; Bill Holston, Executive Director, Human Rights Initiative, Dallas, Texas; Emily Timm, Co-Executive Director, Proyecto de Defensa Laboral/Workers Defense Project, Austin-Dallas-Houston; Rev. David Wilson, Assistant to the Bishop, Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference; Shellie Ross, Executive Director, The Wesley-Rankin Community Center, Dallas, TX.
Two panelists – a linguist and a practical theologian – will offer new insights from their research. The other four panelists – all leaders of community agencies that empower marginalized communities for social change – will present human stories that highlight the impact of public policy that is shaped by the power of language used in religion, education, and community spaces.
Each panelist will offer individual comments, followed by a discussion between the panelists and a short Q&A. Participants will also have the opportunity to offer reflections on the panelists’ presentation.
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please register at https://smu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jN_Ay036Q6OJsl6RZ5tGsg.
Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
The Department of World Languages and Literatures teaches eleven languages, including Ancient Greek, ASL, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. It offers four majors and eleven minors and is part of the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, SMU’s school of liberal arts, which connects students with forward thinkers and global problem solvers through interdisciplinary education and partnerships that begin here, at the heart of the SMU campus, and extend globally.