What is the meaning of salvation? Some say that people are saved if they have the right beliefs. Others say we must live a good life, following the example of Christ. And some believe that in the end, everyone will go to heaven. But how do we really ascend from the sinful world of the flesh to the heavenly world of the Spirit and attain to eternal life with God? In this week’s service we explore these important questions. We also tell the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a 20th century minister and martyr who taught that true faith can be costly.
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week — the week when Christians each year commemorate the final days of Jesus’s earthly ministry, culminating in his martyrdom on the cross. Palm Sunday marks the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem for the festival of Passover, when crowds of people acclaimed him as a great prophet who could deliver the Jews from Roman oppression. They scattered palm branches at his feet, welcoming him as if he were their king, as he humbly rode into the city upon a donkey.
By Friday, Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leaders as a false messiah and crucified as a rabble-rouser by the Romans.
Today is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, when Christians each year commemorate the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This week, our theme is “The Incredible Power of the Cross” — why the cross of Christ is such a pivotal event in history and its transformative effect on our lives. We also remember Clare of Assisi, a wealthy young woman who gave up everything, took up her cross daily, and became a living sacrifice for God.
Every year, before Easter, Christians call to remembrance the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s that time of year when the memory of the crucifixion of Jesus draws near. Holy Week is only one week away, so let us begin to reflect upon the circumstances that led to his martyrdom and its significance.
It’s not easy to stand up for what’s right when you know it might cost you your comfort, your freedom, or even your life. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs. What are we willing to do? In this week’s service, we focus on the courage to sacrifice for our faith — and we honor the memory of Chu Ki-chol, a Korean Christian minister who stood up against Japanese imperialism and died as a martyr.