site map contact us help someone in need


  Sermon Archives

The First Congregational Church, Columbus Ohio
Palm Sunday, March 20, 2005
A sermon delivered by The Rev. Timothy Ahrens

Dedicated to the honor of Jesus Christ and always to the glory of God!
Passion as a Moral Value Part VII of VIII in the Sermon Series: "Moral Values: Which Values and Whose Values?"
Mt. 21:1-17, Mt. 22: 15-22, 34-40, Mt. 23:37-39, Mt. 26:1-13

The passion of the Christ is a true story that carries us from Palm Sunday's triumphal entry into Jerusalem to prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, to crucifixion on Golgotha, to time in the tomb of death to the sunrise of Resurrection. The passion as a moral value speaks to the qualities and the character of our own Lord and Savior. More than the man of Nazareth, he is the Risen One whose rising carries humanity to a new reality of living moral lives - living lives cast in the image of the Incarnate God. I invite you to listen today to this simple reflection on our Christ's passion and glory. In his life, death, and resurrection, the characteristics that form our moral values come into focus.

The Man of Nazareth, Our Crucified and Risen Lord

He was born of a young peasant girl.

He was raised as a carpenter's son.

He worked for a living.

His hands worn and strong,

his eyes kind and clear.

As a child, at his father's work bench,

he came to know his people.

He knew their needs, their wants,

their wishes, their stories.

He knew their shortcomings.

He knew their strengths.

He listened.

He cut.

He shaved.

He hammered.

He built the stuff for people's lives with his hands.

The Historian Josepheus tells us that

One day, Roman soldiers came to town.

He was young teenager.

There in Nazareth, he cut the wood,

he raised the crosses on hillsides

where hundreds of his people were crucified.

He listened to their cries for mercy.

He watched them die.

Then when death claimed them,

he took apart the crosses.

He returned the dead wood to a place

where it would give life once more.

He always remembered Nazareth.

One day, he left the hill country for Galilee's Sea.

He taught.

He healed.

He laughed and loved.

He brought justice and mercy.

Followers listened.

The sick were healed.

The blind could see.

The hopeless came to life again.

Lives were mended by this carpenter by the sea.

When his time arrived,

he turned his eyes and his feet to Jerusalem.

Following the compass of destiny, he headed south.

The big city was much different from his hometown and the fishing villages.

Crowds cheered him on.

The powerful greeted his arrival with killing schemes and hate-filled themes.

The powerless loved him.

The powerful wanted him gone.

In the city, he found thieves in the temple.

In the fire of righteous indignation, he threw them out.

In the city, he found multitudes of blind and lame people.

In a heartbeat of compassion, he healed them.

In the city, he found greedy money worshipers.

In love with God, he rendered silver to Caesar.

In the city, he found those who would trap him and seek to destroy him.

In teaching the hard-hearted, he infused them with the good news

of God's commandment to love one another.

He wept in the city for the city itself.

Here they killed the prophets.

Here they stoned those who would save them.

And in the end, they killed him too.

He was not killed

before he prayed in Bethany.

He was not killed

before the woman washed his feet with precious ointment.

He was not killed

before he broke bread and poured wine for the salvation of the world.

He was not killed

before he prayed that his Father would let the cup of death pass him by.

He was not killed

before he was beaten like no man

before him and no make since, even to the edge of death.

He was not killed

before he offered seven last words of love, mercy, promise, forgiveness, thanksgiving, and hope.

And when he died, God wept first.

And when he died, the temple curtain tore in two.

And when he died, earthquakes ripped the fabric of stone in two.

Remember the man of Nazareth whenever you live your life right.

Remember, the man of Nazareth, our crucified Lord,

whenever you die unto yourself.

Remember the man of Nazareth, our Risen Lord,

whenever you rise triumphant.

For it is his living, his dying, his triumphant rising

that has given your life meaning and value.

Remember him.

Remember him.

Remember him.

Copyright 2005, The First Congregational Church