AS Christians journey with Jesus during this Holy Week, we must also reflect upon our own personal relationship with Christ.
These were the words of Reverend Michael Palmer during the Palm Sunday 6am Holy Mass at Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral of the Anglican Church of Melanesia on Sunday.
Hundreds gathered for the two Sunday services at the Cathedral yesterday as they join Christians in the country and around the world to celebrate Palm Sunday – an event to commemorate Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem before his crucifixion.
Palm Sunday is the first day of the Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter.
For many families, yesterday was their first time back to communal worship since the COVID-19 outbreak in Honiara and in parts of the country early this year.
Reverend Palmer delivered his Sunday sermon based on the Palm Gospel and the Passion Gospel in Luke’s Gospel.
“Today is Palm Sunday, we celebrate the victorious entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and it is the start of the Passion Week,” Rev. Palmer told the congregation.
“According to the Palm Gospel, this was a victorious entry for Jesus as it shows to everyone that he is the Messiah, the king that came to fulfil the Old Testament prophecy.
“But the sad thing is the praises which the people gave to Jesus were not because he will come as their Saviour from sin. It is more about someone that will come to set them free from their earthly rulers.
“So we can say that they really did not recognise him for who he really was but they only recognise him for what they believe him to be.”
As today’s Christians, Rev. Palmer asked what is our perspective of Jesus today.
“Do we see him for who he really is, our Saviour from sin?
“And if we say yes, is our everyday life show what Jesus did for us on the cross, how we act, how we speak and how we think?
“As we journey with Jesus during this coming Holy Week and you think about his suffering and death for us, we must not stop there. We must also think about our relationship today with Jesus.
“Peter one of the disciples of Jesus told Jesus in Luke’s Gospel at the Lord’s Supper that he is ready to go to prison with Jesus and to die with him and yet when they questioned him three times he denied Jesus.
“See how quickly Peter changed his approach, how quickly he turned away when pressured. He made a promise to Jesus but when he was challenged he gave up.
“What about us? Are we going to give in to pressure like Peter or are we going to stand by Jesus like the women who followed Jesus right up to the cross,” Rev. Palmer asked.
He said follow Christ is not only about going to church or doing Godly things, it should also applies to our way of life every day.
“To follow Christ is not only when we come to church or do things of God, to follow Christ in this journey also applies to our way of life every day and how we relate to others daily whether in our homes, our workplaces, our businesses, communities, when playing sports, in schools, in every second and moment in life.
“But we cannot start this journey unless each of us recognises our need for a Saviour and that is Jesus Christ.
“We must recognise that in our sinful nature there is a saviour that can save us and this is why Jesus came to take away sin through his death on the cross and only Jesus can give us this hope of eternal life especially in these very uncertain times,” Rev. Palmer said.
He said some might say that whatever sin they did is terribly wrong and could not be forgiven.
“No, there is forgiveness through Jesus.
“God still loves us and God is still willing to forgive us. This is evident in Luke’ Gospel when one of the criminals that was crucified with Jesus asked Jesus this ‘Remember me when you come into your Kingdom’.
“Jesus answered him like this, ‘I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me’.
“What a wonderful assurance the criminal received that moment and I believe this is also what we want and that is for Jesus to accept us at the end of our journey inside his Kingdom.
“Salvation is made possible through the death of our Lord Jesus so let us commit ourselves to Jesus today, whether it is recommitment or making a decision, let it be our Saviour and Lord.
“But not just for this season of Lent or Palm Sunday and Holy Week but let it be a commitment and decision forever.
“Don’t be like the crowd – they welcome Jesus into Jerusalem one moment but later turn against him and demand that he be crucified.
“There is no resurrection without the suffering of Christ and his death, as the saying goes ‘no cross, no gain’.
“God has done his part to save this world from sin, now it is up to each one of us to respond.”
“With all the changes this world brings, I want to encourage us Jesus alone can forgive our past, Jesus alone can give us a purpose for living today, and Jesus alone can give us a home in heaven.
“Without a cross there is no Easter, without a cross there is no eternal life,” Rev. Palmer said.
During Palm Sunday, the Sunday School children of Saint Barnabas Cathedral usually dramatized the Passion Story. However, this did not happen this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols.
Church services for the Holy Week and Easter will be published in the Solomon Star throughout this week. Churches are encouraged to send your Easter programs to the Solomon Star for this free publication.