I will do my best to have a weekly email go out every Tuesday morning. This communication will contain a written summary of the sermon, some follow up questions the sermon raises, birthdays for the week, the daily Bible readings, weekly announcements, calendar events, and prayer needs raised over the last week. It is my hope that this can continue long after the corona virus crisis is over, so we can remain as connected as possible as a church!
FROM HOSANNA! TO CRUCIFY! –based on Matthew 21:12-17, 28-46
Imagine the scene: Jesus is coming into Jerusalem. The crowd is excited. The one they believe to be the Messiah, their savior and liberator, is finally coming into THE city. People are laying cloaks on the road, as well as palm branches. Jesus is riding on the donkey, and the crowd is crying “Hosanna!” Could this be the fulfillment of Zechariah 9? Is now the time of the Messiah?
Yet, in just a period of five days, that same crowd went from cries of “Hosanna!” to “Crucify!” How did the crowd turn so quickly on Jesus? What did he do that caused them to go from praise to ultimate rejection? Matthew 21 gives us three major clues:
First, Jesus challenged their loyalty. Instead of marching up to Pilate’s palace and the Roman guard, which is what everyone expected of Jesus, he instead went straight for the temple. What he did next was unthinkable–he made a whip, and began overturning tables in the temple and driving out the money changers. “My father’s house should be called a house of prayer, but you are making it into a den of thieves” (Matt 21:13). In John’s gospel, Jesus also said, “How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:16). What was taking place that caused Jesus to flip his lid and caused this scene to unfold?
For many pilgrims who came into Jerusalem to the temple, they were not able to bring the animals for sacrifice with them (finances, geography, etc.). And so when the pilgrims came into the outer courts of the temple, they would often purchase the animals needed for sacrifice. But instead of this being a noble practice to accommodate the needs of the pilgrims, instead it became a money making scheme. The pilgrims were often fleeced, paying far more than they should. By overturning the tables, Jesus was calling out this despicable practice of taking financial advantage of people who are coming to worship God and called the people back to treating the temple as was intended: a place of prayer for all nations.
This was a challenge to their loyalty. Jesus was supposed to be on their side; now, he was calling them out! Were they truly concerned for all? Or were they trying to simply profit off the things of God? Jesus hit them right where it hurt the most–their finances.
Second, Jesus challenged their paradigm. Jesus gave a parable, the parable of Two Sons, in direct response to a challenge of authority. The crowd wanted Jesus to give an answer as to why he felt he could treat the temple as he did. Jesus’ parable featured two sons: one who initially refused the father’s request, but then complied, while the other said he would honor the request,but failed to do so.
Why was this a challenge to their paradigm? Israel believed that because they were Israel, they were the people of God and would always be the people of God. They were Jews by birth, and thus would receive the fullness of the kingdom. But Jesus’ parable linked the acquisition of the kingdom to OBEDIENCE, not birthright. He further challenged the paradigm by acknowledging the tax collectors and prostitutes would enter the kingdom of heaven first! Jesus challenged their traditions, their long held beliefs, and who comprised the people of God. In other words, their heritage was worthless!
Last, Jesus challenged their motives. Jesus followed up the parable of the two sons with the parable of the tenants. The wicked tenants brutally mistreated the servants coming to collect the harvest. Eventually, they killed the son in an effort to try to take control of the vineyard. Jesus then issued the rebuke–this was the people of Israel!
Why was this a challenge to their motives? Because the people believed that following TORAH would get them what they wanted. They did not want to follow the heart of God, to be a light to the world; rather, they wanted to see the whole world burn! Instead of loving enemies, they wanted to see their destruction!
Jesus challenged the core of who the people were–their loyalty, their paradigm, and their motives. And so Jesus became a threat. Instead of allowing the overturning in their hearts, they chose to reject Jesus, and to get rid of him.
Jesus still today challenges our loyalty, our paradigms, and our motives. Why do we exist as a church? When the rubber meets the road, what are we all about? Who do we serve? Will we shout “Hosanna!” or do we too cry “Crucify!” when the heat is turned up and Jesus challenges our core identity?
Questions for reflection
1) Where does our true loyalty lie?
2) What tables in our own lives do we not want Jesus to overturn? Where do we need to surrender?
3) Do we have any paradigms that need shifting?
4) Why do we come to church? Why do we exist as a church?
Pastor Ryan will preach two sermons. For Easter Sunrise service, the sermon title is “Jesus is Alive!…” based upon John 20:1-18. The regular service is titled, “…Do You Believe?”, based on John 20:19-31. Without the resurrection, there is no point of continuing as a church. Do we believe in a resurrected Lord? And how does the resurrection change our living?
Daily Bible Readings for April 7 – 13
April 7: John 6:41-66 Why did many Jews stop following Jesus?
April 8: John 7:25-52 Why did many Jews stop following Jesus?
April 9: John 8:42-58 Why did the religious leaders want to kill Jesus?
April 10: John 11:45-57 Why did the religious leaders want to kill Jesus?
April 11: Luke 23:26-43 What was Jesus’ attitude even in the midst of crucifixion?
April 12: Matthew 28 How did people respond to the resurrection?
April 13: Mark 16:1-8 How did the women respond to the resurrection?
Beaver Creek will be closed through the end of April, in keeping with Executive Order 53 and the recommendation of the Shenandoah District and the Leadership Team.
The Leadership Team’s guidance in its meeting on March 19 was to reevaluate each month based upon the current recommendation of the governor. On March 30, Governor Northam announced Executive Order 55, a stay at home order with continuing guidance on rule of ten through June 10th. This will have potential lasting impacts for us at Beaver Creek, including the Mother-Daughter banquet.
Although Spring Festival is postponed, there are still two fundraisers that are COVID-19 safe to help support the camp at this time:
1) Hike-in-place-a-thon: Even though you cannot go to camp and hike, you can still hike in place for camp! If you would like to participate in this fundraising effort, please email me or call the church office, and I will get you a form. Likewise, if you would like to sponsor Katie or Samantha, who will both be doing the hike in place, please email me as well and let me know how much you are pledging. You can simply mail the donation to the church office and mark “hike-a-thon” and we will collect it.
2) Dunk the Dunkard: Instead of a dunking booth, you can “dunk” Pastor Ryan ALS ice bucket challenge style! If you would love to see me with a bucket of ice water dumped over my head, please email and sponsor! The goal is at least $200 for camp. If we can get over $200 for camp, Heather will record it, and we will upload the video to the website for all to watch! Again, you can mail the money also to the church, label it “dunk the dunkard”, and we know it will go to camp.
Spring Festival was April 25th, so everything needs to be in by that day if you would like to help camp out in this time. Most of the camp’s revenue comes from Spring Festival and the rental groups–which have all had to postpone at least through June 10th.
The Shenandoah District Disaster Auction will also have to be postponed under this new Executive Order.
Holy Week Events
1) Zoom Bible study on Wednesday night, 4/8 at 7 pm. The topic will be the prayers of Jesus at Gethsemane. I do have Zoom Pro, and so I do have more of the safety features to prevent the “zoombombing” that has been taking place. Email me for the link.
2) Thursday, 4/9 there will be a denomination wide Love Feast at 8 pm. If you would like to participate, click on this link: https://livestream.com/livingstreamcob/lovefeast2020
3) Friday, 4/10 is a day of called fasting and prayer by our national office for the coronavirus pandemic. If you decide to participate, you can pray and fast as you are able.
4) Saturday, 4/11 we are hoping to have a church-wide Easter egg hunt for the children. If you would like to participate, please email me, make an Easter egg, and display it in your window. Please have the egg visible in your yard, door, or window facing road by 9 am! If you would like to participate, please let Pastor Ryan know via email by Wednesday evening so a final list can be compiled.
Parents: The list of participating houses will be emailed to you by Friday morning. Instructions will be given in that email as well.
5) Sunday, 4/12 Easter Sunrise Live Service at 7 am. Although we will not be able to gather together because of this escalating pandemic, we will stream this live on our Facebook page and Youtube page right at 7 am. Then, it will be posted to the website if you do not have access to either. Links will be displayed on the webpage and later emails.
6) Our regular Easter service will be at 11 on Sunday!
Please be on the lookout for a packet of seeds in an envelope that will be hand delivered to your porch either on Good Friday or Saturday. The seeds will play a role in the Easter sermon
Thank you to all who have volunteered to help with calling members of the congregation through this time. Pastor Ryan will also be calling as well!
Four Ways to Give! With the extended closure, this is greatly necessary.
1) Direct Deposit–form available on the website
2) Mail your tithe into the church office
3) Drop it by church office on Tuesday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
4) New online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
Also, this past Sunday was the First Sunday Offering for Ottobine’s backpack program. If you would like to still give, either give online or mail it in or drop it by!
Sue Coen (friend of the Coopers, medical)
Hazel Diehl (Darlene LaPrade’s mother, medical)
Prayers for the family of Steven Miller as he passed away last week
Tami Plaugher (medical)
Sandy Shomo (family friend of Misti & Kenny Wheelbarger and acquaintance of Bill & Donna Miller, medical)
Tom Wilfong (medical)
Charles Wright (medical)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB