Holy Week message from Bishop Laurie

Holy Week message from Bishop Laurie

March 31, 2020

God's Love Never Ends from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.

Listen to the Bishop Laurie's message for Holy Week 2020

Grace to you and peace on this Palm Sunday. Lament is a common word that we are using in these days to describe our coronavirus world. Lament in the Bible has always been a deep expression of grief and sorrow for someone who has died or for something that is gone. In the midst of the deadly effects of the virus and our attempts to stop its spread, we lament all that we have lost in our global family and cry out to God for help. At the same time, it is important that we have the freedom in worship to name and lament our distress over such things.

As we enter Holy Week, one of the most poignant times of lamentation took place when Jesus was led away to the cross. Luke writes, “As they led Jesus away, they grabbed Simon, a man from Cyrene, who was coming in from the countryside. They put the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus. A huge crowd of people followed Jesus, including women, who were mourning and wailing for him. Jesus turned to the women and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Rather, cry for yourselves and your children.’” 

In the midst of our lamentation for our world and its people, we claim the promises of God in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Lamentations (22-23), “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” 

Our beloved hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” was written by Thomas Chisholm, who was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1903 but served only one appointment. Out of the 1,200 poems that Chisholm wrote during this lifetime, this is the hymn that has been a favorite of United Methodists for decades. In fact, I sang it last Sunday as I was livestreaming a worship service at home.   

As we enter Holy Week in the year 2020, you and I travel together with Jesus from the anointing at Bethany to Jerusalem, to the temple, to the Mount of Olives, to the Upper Room, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the high priest’s house, to Pilate, to Herod, to Golgotha, to the cross, to the tomb, and to the resurrection. At the same time as we will not be physically together as the body of Christ, may we remember and claim the good news of the gospel, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen!” He has risen indeed! Thanks be to God!  

Great is Thy faithfulness; O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be
Great is Thy faithfulness; Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
And all I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness; Lord unto me.