SERMON TITLE: “The Serenity Prayer: The Wisdom to Distinguish”
SERMON TEXT: Mark 11:7-11 and Matthew 26:36-42
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: March 28, 2021 (Palm Sunday) at First UMC
God, . . . grant me . . . the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
. . . the courage to change the things I can, . . .
and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Amen.
Compared to last year, this year’s Holy Week is especially celebratory because so many of us are getting our vaccinations, the threat of the COVID pandemic is lifting, and at least some of us are able to be back inside the sanctuary for worship. Praise God for this relief and joy!
But, just like every year, there is also a dimension of sadness and solemnity in Holy Week. In between Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his glorious resurrection on Easter morning, there were many difficult encounters, emotions, and experiences. When Jesus rode that donkey into the capital city, he had a lot on his mind and heart. Those concerns only increased as the week wore on—as he overturned the tables to cleanse the temple; as his teachings and miracles stirred up conflict with the authorities; as Jesus ate his Last Supper with his disciples; as he prayed in great anxiety in the Garden of Gethsemane; and as Jesus was betrayed, arrested, condemned, beaten, and crucified.
Throughout this season of Lent, we of First United Methodist Church have been working our way through the words and phrases of The Serenity Prayer. We have talked about who God is and what it means to pray, “grant me.” We’ve defined and described “serenity,” and we’ve thought about what it takes “to accept the things I cannot change.” Last Sunday, we worked on “the courage to change the things I can.” And finally, today—as we reflect on the acceptance and courage of Jesus’ last week of life—let’s see how he found, and how we might seek, “the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”