We celebrate Palm/Passion Sunday, remembering the joyful moment of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem. Jesus was recognized as God’s messiah, the true ruler of God’s kingdom. In our worship, we begin in praise and excitement and by the end of the service we have moved to the events around the Passion of Jesus, his arrest, trial and crucifixion. We share these movements in one worship service as a way to remember the larger story of Holy Week and the meaning of Jesus’ suffering and self-giving for us. This week, we are wrapping up the Gift of the Dark Woods as we talk about the Gift of Disappearing on Sunday and on Maundy Thursday, the Gift of Misfits. We continue to explore the blessings of life’s difficult moments that can be counterintuitive, but also a powerful entry to spiritual rebirth for us.


Throughout his ministry, Jesus allowed himself to disappear and thus reveal the presence and work of God. Here is an invitation to allow let the false and inadequate images of our own selves to fade and disappear. All of us have had this experience in difficult ways. We have been attacked, shamed, embarrassed in moments that left us wanting to vanish into the proverbial woodwork. Yet God has an image of us that is powerful, complete and holy, an image that reflects God’s love to the world. When we worship, the image of God in us can come to the surface and move to the forefront of our lives. I suspect all of us are hungry for that to happen. This Sunday we come to participate again in the great drama of Jesus’ final week, where, with God’s help, we can face the worst and the best in ourselves. Together, we can offer an image of God’s redemptive love for our world.

Dave Summers
Senior Pastor, Paradise Valley United Methodist Church
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During Lent we are doing a worship series on the Gifts of the Dark Wood and exploring how times of difficulty and failure become places that reveal insights to us about ourselves and our beliefs. Instead of living our lives trying to avoid the dark places, we learn to see and receive their gifts to us. Uncertainty abounds in our world, given the realities of economics, politics, terrorism, and our increasingly fragile planet. We want to cultivate a strong and durable trust in God as we face uncertain times. We want to discover a way to receive and understand the insights from uncertainty as life unfolds for us. Join us Sunday for our Lenten worship series and the gifts that will come to each of us as we journey to the cross during Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

Read More about Gifts of the Dark Wood and the Lenten season at PVUMC.

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