A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dave's Deep Thoughts

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

It only takes a moment.

Researchers say that for most people,
most significant moments that occur in the development of faith,
do not happen on Sunday mornings,
and often do not happen in a church.

Work camps, summer camps,
retreats and other events are far more likely places
for people to feel moved by God to conversion and renewal.

They are places where people
find themselves removed from the normalcy of their lives.

Places where people are more receptive to a moment,
a moment where they feel called by God,
a moment where they feel embraced by their Creator,
a moment where they feel touched by the Eternal

I would never discount the importance
of the gathering of the believers at the beginning of each week,
but I long for moments like these......

Holy week has many moments for me :
the waving of palms,
cries of Hosanna!
coming to the Lord's table,
revisiting the trial and scourging,
quieting my world for three hours on Friday,
a service of shadows Friday evening,
then finally,
the amazing celebration of what seems impossible on Sunday morning.......

Of all these things,
there is one moment
which becomes my significant moment

Palm Sunday service begins with great celebration.
It has the feel to a parade to it,
it is festive!
People are shouting...
Hail King Jesus!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Palms are waving,
children are leading the procession.

But none of that constitutes the moment.

It is at the end of the service.
The mood has diminished to a complete silence....

The cries of Hosanna have faded.


the song is raised...... acapella....

What wondrous love is this, o my soul, o my soul..............

A cross is brought up the aisle and placed.

What wondrous love is this, o my soul,

Three nails placed on the nail points

What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss........

A crown of thorns is placed at the top of the cross.

to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul.

A black shroud is lain over the cross.

to bear the dreadful curse for my soul,


Then, one person moves to the cross,
and lays down his palm at the base,
and walks out of the room.

Others soon follow in silence.

That is my moment.

In that moment I acknowledge how often I turn my back on God,

I acknowledge how my cheers so quickly turn to jeers,

I acknowledge how unable I am to remain faithful
to the One who is always faithful to me.

I acknowledge how often I miss the mark.

I acknowledge my mortality.

It is in acknowledging all of that,
that allows me to come to Resurrection Day with joy,
to experience hope,
to dance with joy,
to embrace an indescribable peace.

All because,
I had a moment.

May you find your moment this week.

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us."
- Romans 5:8

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