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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Palm/Passion Sunday, April 5, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

Ride on! ride on in majesty!
The hosts of angels in the sky look down with sad and wondering eyes
to see the approaching sacrifice.

Ride on! ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die; bow thy meek head to mortal pain;
then take, O God, thy power, and reign.

“Ride On! Ride On in Majesty!” (vv. 3–4) by Henry Hart Milman
Hymn 198, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

There are certainly a lot of examples throughout Christian history of emphasizing the meekness of Jesus Christ. We go too far when we imagine that this meekness is a kind of weakness. “Bow thy meek head to mortal pain” today’s verses read. Jesus surrenders to the fact that mortality involves pain and even death. But this is not a meek surrender to evil. On the contrary, Jesus will suffer because he challenges and confronts evil.

God, in Jesus Christ, exposes the evil that the empire and forces of domination perpetuate through torturing people to death in crucifixion. When Jesus is nailed to the cross, the worst of human evil is exposed, made visible in the tortured body of our brother. Human beings did this to him. On his journey into Jerusalem, Jesus understands what will happen and accepts the reality of this painful confrontation with evil. If he bowed his head in meekness to mortal pain, he did it with steadfast determination to confront the powers and principalities of the world.

Jesus is on his way to die but not because his torture will save anyone. His willingness to expose evil, even though he had to suffer to do it, opened the door to the resurrection in which God claimed the power of life and the power of righteous rule. We need God’s redemptive power in our lives and in our world. “Take, O God, thy power, and reign!”

God of power and might, strengthen us to confront the powers and principalities of our world, working for justice and truth, even when it hurts to do so. Help us to be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love as we strive to follow him and his Way. Bring your resurrection power to our world. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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