Palm Sunday teaches us that God holds everything securely in His hand

08.04.2020

The Chief Apostle in Strasbourg

A virtual choir hymn to conclude (photos: Mike Karcher)

Zurich/Strasbourg. Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem was well thought out. The Son of God was not simply passing through the city walls like a visitor. He had instructed His disciples quite precisely in terms of what they were to do. Why? In His instructions lie security and salvation.

“So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.” This passage from Matthew 21: 6 led Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider to conclude at the end of his sermon that it is right to adhere to the teaching of Jesus in times of trouble. His appeal: “In times of trial we trust in God, make efforts to secure our salvation, and remain in fellowship with the apostolate. We care for one another and support one another.”

Palm Sunday, 5 April 2020: Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider had come to Strasbourg. Only a few technicians were present, but otherwise, the Church leader’s sermon was live-streamed directly to the living rooms of the believers. “At the time, Jesus went to Jerusalem in full awareness of the circumstances,” he began. Naturally, the Lord was afraid of the trial He would have to confront there, but His love for mankind was greater than His fear. The disciples would also have been upset when He announced His suffering and death to them, “but even though they too were filled with fear, they continued to follow Him.”

God has His eye on all the details

In his sermon, the Church leader recalled the biblical context: as Jesus approached Jerusalem He instructed two of His disciples to bring Him the colt of a donkey. He told them very specifically what they were to do. And the disciples followed the instructions of their Master very conscientiously. “This incident with the colt of the donkey already demonstrates,” said the Chief Apostle, “that Jesus was fully aware of what would happen, right down to the last detail.” He went on to explain: “Today we live in a special time: people are upset. Many are afraid.” Yet the Holy Spirit comforts us and tells us: “God is not unprepared. He has everything securely in His hand. No crisis, no catastrophe can ever prevent Him from leading His own into His kingdom.”

It was with these words of comfort and security that Chief Apostle Schneider put the hearts of his many listeners at ease.

Let us heed His instructions

At the same time, he called upon the congregation to heed the instructions of Jesus: “We do this because we recognise our Master in them.” He then went on to list three such instructions:

  • “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” — Believing in God means trusting in Him, in His power, in His faithfulness, and in His love, “even when we do not understand His actions.”
  • “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? [...] For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” — In times of crisis such as this, people will do anything to preserve their health and the health of others, said the Chief Apostle. They adhere conscientiously to the recommendations of the authorities, refrain from certain activities, and protect themselves as well as they can. “The Lord calls upon us to invest just as much—if not more—for the purpose of maintaining our spiritual life and that of others.”
  • The Lord sent His Apostles, gave them the Great Commission, and promised to be with them.—“Let us trust Him: as long as we remain in the fellowship of the apostolate, Jesus will provide for the needs of our souls, even in a time when we cannot come together in order to celebrate Holy Communion.”

Let us keep the Ten Commandments

The Lord also provides us with such clear instructions in our day. Here too, the Church leader listed some examples:

  • “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Concerning this, the Chief Apostle went on to provide some further explanation: “During this corona crisis, terms such as ‘altruism’ and ‘selflessness’ have once again taken on a special meaning. Large numbers of people—whether or not they are believers—have committed themselves by making great sacrifices for their neighbour, at times even at great risk to themselves. We are deeply grateful to them. But let us even go a little further. Let us consider our own commitment to others in view of the love these people have for their neighbour. Are we really doing everything for others that we expect them to do for us?”
  • “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Even our love for one another is an instruction of the Lord: “When Jesus asks us to love one another, He is less worried about avoiding problems within the Church, and more interested in demonstrating that His presence does indeed have an effect among His own!”

God keeps His word

And then the Chief Apostle made reference to the faithfulness of God, who will always keep His promises. “I would like to mention two of these, which are particularly applicable in the time we are now experiencing:”

  • “But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
  • “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

 

» Chorale virtuelle - Je louerai l'Eternel (RF 150)