Prisoners of Hope

Entry into Jerusalem, Fernwood Baptist Church, Spartanburg, SC

Entry into Jerusalem, Fernwood Baptist Church, Spartanburg, SC

During worship at our church on Sunday, we celebrated Palm Sunday, which marks Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of the final week of his life. We read from Zechariah 9:9-12, which often is read on Palm Sunday because of the prophet’s words about the coming ruler of God’s people. Zechariah says: “Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, leading his disciples to hail him as the long-sought King of God’s people.
Zechariah continues, “Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope, today I declare that I will restore to you double.”

During worship, my wife, Lisa, offered the following prayer:

O God, I like the idea of power, of controlling life – my life.
And the sounds of the prophet resonate with me –
Rejoice greatly! A King is coming triumphant and victorious.
Yes, I like that!
And yet in the same breath I hear that
the way of the king is humble, lowly, near to the earth.
Help us this day in our lives to be attracted to humility rather than control.
How will you help us live out our lives as followers of Christ if we look through the lens of humility?
O God, I feel the very real experience of opposition.
As we live our lives, there are times that it feels like we are being opposed by
struggle,
pain,
fear,
evil.
We may feel surrounded by difficulty and disappointment,
disillusionment and even forms of death.
Your Word reminds us that in those moments, in those days, in those months and maybe even years of struggle,
that we are
Bound by hope –
prisoners of hope,
not prisoners of evil.
We can trust that you are always working with us to restore us.
We claim and we call upon that promise,
as those with hope. Amen.

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