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PeterJudas – PilateSimon of CyreneMary, the Mother of JesusPalm Sunday

This Lent, we are invited to find ourselves in the story of Jesus’ passion.  We will look at five characters in the passion narrative: Peter, Pilate, Judas, Simon of Cyrene, and Mary the mother of Jesus. The Christian tradition has tended to idolize some of these characters for their faithfulness and goodness while treating some of them as villains.  In reality, each had their own strengths and weaknesses.  In this series, we will explore how we may find the life-giving presence of God’s love and grace in each of these persons, and see how we are challenged to follow the ways of Jesus and resist the ways of injustice in our world today.

Lent 1 –  Peter

Matthew 26:31-35 – Pastor Jeremiah preaching

Peter was one of the key leaders in Jesus’ movement and the early church. Yet, his failure to be faithful during Jesus’ passion was so huge that all four gospels recorded it. Like Peter, we too might have made wrong choices and ended up denying Jesus. How do we find God’s love and grace in our failures? [back to top]

Lent 2 – Judas

Matthew 26: 1-5, 14-16, 47-50 – Pastor Hannah preaching

Why did Judas betray Jesus?  Did he just want money? Was he disappointed with Jesus? Was he just a tragic figure, because someone had to do it? It’s not easy to fully understand Judas. Whatever the reason was, he regretted it deeply when he realized it was too late to bring Jesus back. How do we find God’s love and grace in the wrong choices we make? [back to top]

Lent 3 – Pilate

Matthew 28: 11-26 – Pastor Hannah preaching

Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. He had the power to let Jesus go. But instead of paying attention to truth and justice, he became more interested in preserving his power and privileges and ended up compromising his conscience. He washed his hands and wanted to believe that he did not do any wrong. Pilate’s story challenges us to use our power and privileges justly and never abuse them. How do we find God’s love and grace in our misuse of power? [back to top]

Lent 4 – Simon of Cyrene

Mark 15:21-22 – Pastor Jeremiah preaching

Simon of Cyrene carried the cross for Jesus. Whether he volunteered to do it out of compassion or just followed the instruction of Roman soldiers, his act has been considered so significant in the Christian tradition that he is honored in one of the twelve stations of the cross. In this story, we are reminded that God will use us even when we don’t even realize it.  How do we find God’s love and grace beyond our own plans? [back to top]

Lent 5 – Mary the mother of Jesus

John 19:17-27 – Pastor Hannah preaching

Mary’s grief at Jesus’ cross is a stark contrast to her joy and excitement at Jesus’ birth. Her pain as a mother who lost her beloved son is repeated today in the cries of mothers who lost their children due to violence, unjust immigration policy, or political corruption. How do we find God’s love and grace in the cries of a mother who lost her child? [back to top]

Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-9 – Pastor Hannah preaching

On this last Sunday in Lent, we hear the story of Jesus’ final entrance into Jerusalem. As the shouts of the crowd change from the joyful “Hosanna!” to the brutal “Crucify him!” we realize that we too are part of the crowd. Palms will remind us of our vulnerability, and encourage us to stay faithful. How do we find God’s love and grace in our own unfaithfulness? [back to top]