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Lent Reflections @ CEC: Palm Sunday

Scripture context:

A long time ago, I learned a Chinese worship song about “Lift up your heads, o ye gates of Jerusalem”. I love the lyrics, the tunes and everything. As I study more, I started to realize it is from Psalm 24, and it is closely related the Palm Sunday, Jesus’ glorious entry into the City of Jerusalem. I won’t torture you by asking you to listen to a Chinese worship song. So I searched online for a fitting song related to Matthew 21 and Palm 24.

I found quite a few:

1.Portion of Handel’s Messiah about Psalm 24 (18th century, and this one is my favorite ❤️ !);

2. A 12th century hymn Haec est generatio; (This one is Pastor Karen's favorite)

4. 2019 version of Psalm 24 by JesCom TV (from the Jesuit Communications Foundation).

I hope you will find at least one of them pleasant, uplifting, speaking to your soul today.

As I read the passages in Matthew about events in the last weeks of Jesus life before he was crucified, I was filled with a sense of exciting anticipation. Then when I read John, especially John chapters 12 to 17, I notice the word Glory was mentioned many times, just as Psalm 24 had prophesized that “the King of Glory” has come in.

Psalm 24: 7-10

Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.

Looking back on my spiritual journey, I have seen God as the almighty fearful judge whom I should and am willing to obey with trembling fear. I have also seen God as the loving Heavenly father whom I should and am willing to love with childlike faith and affection. As for glory, I understand God is the king of glory. That is it. I did not believe that I can glorify God.

Even though I learned a long time ago about the Westminster Catechism which says:

Q. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

I don’t understand how I can glorify God. Or the deeper problem is I do not believe that I am capable of glorifying God. Is that a lie that my inner voice tells me? As I meditated on John 17, especially John 17:22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one,” my belief was challenged. I started to see that God has already given me glory when He created me in His image. And He has given me glory when I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord. If my Heavenly father is so glorious, wouldn’t that inspire me to imitate Him? Hasn’t He already enabled me to glorify Him? I got this insight on my drive to work one morning. I was so thankful for this new insight which freed me from certain deep debilitating beliefs. How I wish I am good at drawing so I can draw what I have just experienced! Then a tiny voice tells me: You don’t have to be a great artist to draw what you just experienced. You can use stick figures to keep this insight. So when I arrived in office, I hurried and did the following illustration:

I shared it with Terry and Karla Smith and it amused Karla. I hope it bring you some laughter too.

Psalm 19: 7-14

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins;may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Tianhong Shi

lent booklet (2)
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