PASTOR BRAD'S PAGE

Palm Sunday yr. A, April 5, 2020

New Covenant, Matthew 21:1-11

“All Shook Up”

     Katie Patel, age 32, a mother of three, is a nurse at Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis, Missouri. She still had two weeks of maternity leave remaining, when she went back to work this week, because the need for nurses is so great.

Dr. Michele Pedicone, a former respiratory therapist, put her retirement on hold and went back to work this week, because the need for respiratory doctors is so great.

Megan Hartman, an x-ray technician from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a month away from her 1st wedding anniversary and is quarantined, because she wasn’t given the correct protective gear when x-raying a patient.

Dr. David Zodda, ER physician at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, intubated his co-worker this week.

ER nurse, Mary MacDonald from Michigan broke down in tears this week, after completing a 13 hour shift caring for two critically ill patients by herself.

Dr. Jared Burks, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, was caring for Coronavirus patients while his home was destroyed by a tornado last Saturday.

These are six stories, of six humble individuals, who are putting themselves at great risk in order to save the lives of others.

As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, in our gospel lesson this week, he does so humbly. He does so riding on a donkey, with the donkey’s foal by her side, not on a war horse. He does so with his followers wearing cloaks, not coats of armor and they carry branches, not swords and spears.

Matthew tells us that as Jesus rides into Jerusalem, the entire city is, “Stirred-up.” The Greek word that Matthew uses is a verb meaning, “To tremble or shake.” Matthew is the only gospel writer who uses this word and he uses it on 2 other occasions. He uses it in chapter 27, to describe how the earth shook and trembled when Jesus died. Then, he uses it again in chapter 28, to describe how the soldiers shook and trembled when the stone of Jesus’ tomb was rolled away by angels.

Matthew tells us that as Jesus humbly rides into Jerusalem, the people of the city are trembling like there’s an earthquake. And at the same time, he adds that the crowds following Jesus are chanting, “Hosanna,” which means “Save us.” When Jesus humbly arrives in Jerusalem, he arrives to people trembling in fear and to crowds chanting, “Save us.”

This morning we are again shaken, as we see the images of those who are sick and those who have died. We are again shaken, as we see the images of those who are caring for the sick and those who are out of work. We are again shaken, as we see the images of projected curves and businesses being boarded up. This morning, we are again trembling and calling out, “Hosanna.” We are again all shook-up and calling out, “Save us.” But this time, we don’t have to wait for Jesus’ arrival. He’s already here.

We see the face of Jesus in the faces of the doctors and nurses on the front lines battling this virus. We see the face of Jesus in the face of nurse, Katie Patel. We see the face of Jesus in the face of Dr. Michele Pedicone. We see the face of Jesus in the face of x-ray tech Megan Hartman. We see the face of Jesus in the face of Dr. David Zodda. We see the face of Jesus in the face of ER nurse, Mary MacDonald. We see the face of Jesus in the face of Dr. Jared Burks. We see the face of Jesus in the faces of those working at the grocery stores and pharmacies. We see the face of Jesus in the faces of all those on the front lines battling this virus. Thanks be to God. Amen.

NewCovenantStock_KyleAHugginsPhotography©2015_09

Rev. Bradley A. Walmer,
a 2008 graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Divinity degree and was awarded the 2008 Rev. Delores Berry prize for preaching. He was ordained into Christian ministry by the Lebanon Association of the Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ on June 1, 2008. Prior to beginning his pastorate here at New Covenant on August 1, 2015, he served as the pastor of St. Paul’s Summer Hill UCC in Auburn, Pa  (located southeast of Pottsville, PA).

Pastor Brad and his wife Michelle were born and raised in Lebanon County and now reside in the area with their dog, Barkley.

 

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