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Worship Preview 3.17.24 Lent 5 "The Hour Has Come."

 This Weekend: 10:30am – “The Hour Has Come”


Scriptures –  Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-12, Hebrews 5:5-10, John 12:20-33


We are on the cusp of Holy Week. Palm Sunday is the 24th and Easter the 31st. This week the lectionary stays with John and, as usual, there is a lot of context to take in. In this lectionary year, we’ve moved between the Gospel of Mark – which begins by stating it is “the Good News of Jesus Christ, the son of God” and John’s Gospel, which proclaims from the outset that “the Word became flesh and lived among us”, which means that for human beings, “we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).


Our reading from John 12 actually takes us past the triumphant entry that Palm Sunday starts with to an encounter with “some Greeks.” It is not entirely clear who these folks, who “want to see Jesus” are. They are in Jerusalem and visiting the Temple near the great feast of Passover, so it may well be that they are Hellenistic Jews – they approach Phillip, and in turn he goes to Andrew, both disciples having Greek names. But “Greek” was often used by Jews to denote gentiles and in the time John’s gospel is written, when Christians have become a separate religious group from Jews, it is likely that John is emphasizing that Jesus’ followers – and those curious about him – come from beyond .


We don’t get clarity on this – perhaps because clarity isn’t the point (which we will see in our reading from Hebrews), but in this Gospel of “signs” these men’s desire to see him sets the stage for Jesus to proclaim that his hour has come. Jesus sees clearly where his path leads (the cross), this “troubles” him – and he is resolute. Jesus talks of a time of judgment – the sin-soaked systems and attitudes of this world are found wanting – and, as we discussed last week, that judgment does not lead to condemnation – rather Jesus comes in order that the world might be saved through him. . He prays that God might use this moment to “glorify” him – and God speaks – although many think it’s just thunder. This prayer is not a moment of narcissism but a proclamation. The New Testament reading from Hebrews puts it this way: “So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’”


In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) “glory” means that God is present. (See, for example, Exodus 16:1–12; 24:15–18; 40:34–39; Lev 9:22–24; Num 14:10–12; 16:19; Deut 5:22–27; 1 Sam 4:19–22). In the John’s Gospel, it is God’s glory which is now made manifest in Jesus (John 1:14; 2:11; 12:27–28; 17:5). Theologian John Squires writes: “The language of “hour” and “glory” thus provides a framework for interpreting the events in chapters 2–12 as steps on the way towards a full understanding of Jesus, and the events of chapters 13–21 as the realization of God’s presence in the world in all its fullness.” Our reading from Hebrews will also echo this point.


As we seek to encounter Christ is this text and see ourselves in the story, we will draw from the prophet Jeremiah’s experience of God’s divine presence even in the midst of disaster and the promise of a new covenant – not written in stone but on the hearts fo the people, we will hear the words of King David who understands that his sinful actions towards Bathsheba and others are sins against God. Incarnation and Resurrection, repentance and faithful discipleship, and an embrace of mystery, rather than certainty. These are the themes of Lent and Easter. The hour has come!


Wherever you are on your faith journey, we invite you to bring your questions, assurances, and hopes to worship this week. You can learn more about what to expect here at First United Methodist at our website: or our see our Facebook page for the latest updates.


Upcoming Events: 


Wednesday, March 20, 5:30–6:30pm: Feeding Families in His Name – this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. A reminder: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you. If you would like to support this ministry, you can make donations online at


Next Saturday - Faith’s Journey Returns! Saturday, March 23rd at 6pm. Join us the Saturday before Holy Week for another great evening of Absolute Country, Definitely Gospel with Faith’s Journey! Branson’s 2021 Gospel Show and Group of the Year will be here for another freewill offering show! If you were here last year, you’ll want to hear them again, and if you missed it here is your chance to see them! Invite your friends and neighbors!


Easter Sunday is Sunday, March 31st and our service will be at our usual 10:30am time– during Holy Week prior to that we will celebrate Palm / Passion Sunday on March 24th at 10:30am and hold two special midweek services. Maundy Thursday celebrating the last supper and Good Friday/Tenebrae, a service of darkness reflecting on the crucifixion. These prepare us to truly celebrate the good news of Easter and we hope you’ll plan to join us at each of them!





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