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The Proposal

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April 1, 2007                               Palm Sunday                                                         

WELCOME

 

CALL TO WORSHIP

O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops!

Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.  Shout, and do not be afraid.

Tell the towns of Judah,

“Your God is coming!”

             

*HYMN OF PRAISE                                                                                     #324

Be still my soul

               

*INVOCATION (the Lord’s Prayer) Lord, as we celebrate the day of Triumphal Entry, may we be readied to receive your journey into our hearts. Help us to forsake our sin, to overcome our prejudices, and to deny any false pretense that might hinder your entry. May Christ’s entry be triumphant in us.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

 

*GLORIA PATRI (Sung together)                                                                  #575

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

*PSALM FOR TODAY                                        Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (NRSV) 

1     O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!

2     Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

19     Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

20     This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

21     I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.

22     The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

23     This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

24     This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25     Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

26     Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord.

27     The Lord is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.

28     You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you.

29     O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

CHOIR                                                                        

SCRIPTURE READING                                                   Luke 19:28-40  (NRSV)

28 After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

29 When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” 32 So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”   39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

 

OFFERING TO GOD  Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23 NIV).

*DOXOLOGY (Sung together)                                                              #572

       Praise God from whom all blessings flow;

       Praise him all creatures here below:

       Praise him above ye heavn’ly host:

       Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.    

   

*PRAYER OF DEDICATION  Father, as faithful followers of Christ in days of old blessed his coming and laid before him branches of palm, may we, this day, lay our choicest gifts before the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Bless his Holy Name.

                                     

*HYMN OF PRAYER                                                                       #420

If Thou But Suffer God To Guide thee

PASTORAL PRAYER   follow a “PATH”: Praise God for...Ask God for...Thank God for...Healing for...These requests will focus on the mission and ministry that God has called us to as American Baptists.

American Baptists acknowledge the need to pray. We are a people of “prayer, purpose and passion.”

"After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray." Matthew 14:23

Praise God for... Rev. Dr. Albert Paul Brinson, whose life and ministry in the ABC has touched so many lives…and even continues to do so in retirement.

Ask God for... provision and guidance for the governing bodies of American Baptist Churches, that they may take whatever measures fulfill God’s will in the best interests of our denomination.

Thank God for… meeting needs even when things look bleak.

Healing for... churches that are struggling financially; may God grant them a compelling vision for ministry that encourages giving.

Eternal Spirit, with our prayers hanging in the quiet air, we reach out to you.

With a longing for connection in our best moments, we awaken to your truth. But unfortunately, these moments fade like deer tracks in the melting snow. We strive to recapture the bliss but discover that it has vanished as the dream when we wake up. God of mystery and grace, how do we satisfy this restlessness that we feel? How do we free ourselves from this dance of life that holds us fast? How do we live with faith when we are too busy listening to our chatter to hear you? Our souls know that you are with us always, yet we don’t see you. Now, with the promise of resurrection in the stirrings of the slumbering earth, and in the lingering light of these spring evenings, we are back traveling the road to Jerusalem with you, casting palm branches before you, being called to something deep and universal. Our deaf ears shall hear, our blind eyes shall see, and once again our hearts will realize that the Divine is within us, around us, smiling at us, loving us.—Janet Boynton

 

HYMN OF PRAISE                                                                                               #417

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Scripture Text                    Luke 22:14-23:56 (NRSV)

14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22 For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” 23 Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

  

MESSAGE                                                                                  Rev. Esther Irish

The Proposal

Jesus, the Host of the supper, met them with the traditional kiss of peace, and then the men reclined around the table, Judas at our Lord’s left and John at His right (John 13:23).

Jesus revealed His love (vv. 14–16) by what He said and by what He did. He told His friends that He had a great desire to share this last Passover with them before He suffered. Passover commemorated the Exodus of Israel from Egypt centuries before, but He would accomplish a greater “exodus” on the cross. He would purchase redemption from sin for a world of lost sinners (Luke 9:31).

Then He got up, wrapped Himself with a towel, and washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1–20).

It was when the Passover meal was drawing to a close (Matt. 26:25; Luke 22:20) that Jesus instituted the ordinance that the church calls “The Communion” (1 Cor. 10:16), or “The Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor. 11:20), or “The Eucharist,” from the Greek word which means “to give thanks.”

The Passover feast opened with a prayer of thanksgiving, followed by the drinking of the first of four cups of wine.

Next they ate the bitter herbs and sang Psalms 113–114. Then they drank the second cup of wine and began eating the lamb and the unleavened bread. After drinking the third cup of wine, they sang Psalms 115–118; and then the fourth cup was passed among them. It is likely that between the third and fourth cups of wine, Jesus instituted the Supper.

Paul gave the order of the Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23–26. First, Jesus broke a piece from the unleavened loaf, gave thanks, and shared it with the disciples, saying that it represented His body which was given for them. He then gave thanks for the cup and shared it, saying that it represented His blood. It was a simple observance that used the basic elements of a Jewish meal. Jesus sanctified the simple things of life and used them to convey profound spiritual truths.

Jesus stated one of the purposes for the Supper: “in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24–25). It is a memorial feast to remind the believer that Jesus Christ gave His body and blood for the redemption of the world. When we partake, we identify ourselves with His body and blood (1 Cor. 10:16).

A second purpose for the supper is the proclaiming of His death until He returns (1 Cor. 11:26). The Supper encourages us to look back with love and adoration to what He did for us on the cross and to look forward with hope and anticipation to His coming again. Since we must be careful not to come to the Lord’s table with known sin in our lives, the Supper should also be an occasion for looking within, examining our hearts, and confessing our sins (1 Cor. 11:27–32).

A third blessing from the Supper is the reminder of the unity of the church: we are “one loaf” (1 Cor. 10:17). It is “The Lord’s Supper” and is not the exclusive property of any Christian denomination. Whenever we share in the Supper, we are identifying with Christians everywhere and are reminded of our obligation to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).

Following the instituting of the Supper, Jesus taught His disciples many of the basic truths they desperately needed to know in order to have effective ministries in a hostile world (John 14–16). He prayed for His disciples (John 17); then they sang a hymn and departed from the Upper Room for the Garden of Gethsemane.

The night before His crucifixion Christ is trying to communicate His deep love for us, illustrating it through the imagery of a Jewish wedding. He is comparing Himself to the bridegroom who has paid a steep price for His bride. Today we will look at aspects of the Jewish marriage traditions in order to see how understanding them can deepen our understanding of what it means for God to refer to us, the church, as the bride of Christ.
In Jewish culture when it was time for a man and woman to marry, both fathers would negotiate the bride price-acknowledging that the bride would be a precious loss to her family.
The father of the groom would then pay the agreed price to the father of the bride. This agreement was sealed with a drink of wine.
II. The Proposal
Then the prospective groom would make his proposal by taking the cup of wine that his father had brought, drinking from it and offering it to the woman, symbolically saying that he wanted to make a covenant with her and that he would be willing to give his life for her. If the woman accepted the proposal she would seal the engagement by drinking from the same glass. From that moment on she was referred to as one who had been “bought with a price”.
Now with that in mind, lets reread the account of the last supper in Luke 22:19-20 “And He took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
During the last supper Christ took the cup of wine in his hands and told his disciples “this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”,
I’m sure that his disciples recognized the imagery of the marriage proposal. The groom offering the cup to the one he hoped would be his future bride, symbolically saying that he wanted to make a covenant with her and that he would be willing to give his life for her.
And as they accept the cup from Him, they are, in effect sealing the engagement, signaling their acceptance of and their commitment to Him.
As the disciples understand this, they begin to understand the depths of Jesus love -- a love so deep that He made a covenant with them and was willing to give His life. That was the bride price -- the price He had to pay for us – he gave His life, his body and His blood --
 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I Cor. 6:19-20
Continue looking at this and understand how it impacts how we are to live, think about the deep love that CHRIST had for you, the bride price that he paid, with his body and his blood, so that you could one day be His bride, and how we are now to live as His betrothed.
CHRIST gave them the cup with the imagery of the marriage proposal.  Then after they had finished the supper he says that he is going to do what any potential groom had to do in that day and age, go that he might Prepare a place for His bride
“Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may also be.” John 14:1-3 (NASB)
In Jesus time, families usually lived in clusters of buildings called insulas.
These clusters of buildings were built around a central courtyard. Grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts all lived together in the insula.
So as sons married, they added to the insula. After asking a girl to marry him, the son would return to his village and build new rooms onto his father’s home. The son, waited for the day when his father would declare that the building was complete, then he could finally marry his bride and bring her to their new home. That is the word-picture that Jesus is presenting in these verses.
It is also the same word picture that CHRIST uses when He describes His second coming “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the son, but the Father only.” Matt. 24:36
So Christ as the bridegroom is preparing a place for us in the Father’s insula-His home-A place where we, the church, as His bride will one day live with Him. /// What are we to do in the meantime, /// once again we can learn from the Jewish custom of the day.
While the groom was off preparing a place for the new couple, the bride prepared herself and her bridesmaids for the grooms return. During this time the bride was expected to remain true to her groom as she prepared herself to be the kind of wife who would honor her husband. She would be learning from her mother everything that she would need to know to be a good wife and mother, so that she would be the best bride that she could be. And she lived in anticipation of his return, longing for the blast from the shofar announcing his return, the trumpet sound that informed everyone that her groom had finally come for her.
As the bride of Christ, we too, are to live for the day of His return, although, like the Jewish bride, we don’t know when it will be.
We are to live, preparing ourselves for the day when He will return to take us to His father’s house.  And as the bride of CHRIST, it is our responsibility to live in such a way that when people observe our lives, they know that we belong to Him. They know that our life commitment is to our bridegroom. We are to live our lives preparing ourselves for living forever in eternity with Him.
And we are to live in anticipation of his return, longing for the blast from the trumpet announcing his return, the sound that informs us that he had finally come.
 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet. And the dead in CHRIST will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”  I Thes. 4:16-17
Remember that you are the bride of Christ, you have been bought with a price, his blood. You have accepted His proposal, come to Him, now you are His. Live your life in such a way that people may know that you are His, preparing for His coming, anxiously waiting for the day when He will return to take us to the home that he has prepared for us.

*HYMN OF RESPONSE                    # 224     How Firm a Foundation

 

 *SENDING FORTH

 

 *POSTLUDE                           

Attendance:, 2007 -

Offering:

PAPA GINO’S – April 12, 2007 we will participate in a fund-raiser at Papa-Gino’s Restaurant, Warren.  Papa-Gino’s will contribute 20% of the proceeds from purchases; either dine-in or take-out.  Flyers, to be presented at the time of purchase may be copied or get extras from the office to give to friends.  The Church and Carousel Nursery are doing this as a joint venture.  All proceeds will be used for Fire Code Upgrades.

 

COMING EVENTS:

        

April 5 – Maundy Thursday - First Baptist Church in Swansea – Dinner at 6:30 p.m.

April 8 – 5:45 am Easter Sunrise service at Warren Beach

     9 am Easter Breakfast sponsored by the Baptist Benevolent Society

May 5 – Fancy Feast

 

 

 

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