Artist painting of Salem exterior
Our Pastor

Rev. Dr. James M. Capers continues to serve as Salem's Interim Pastor while Minister Douglas Mmari is delayed in Tanzania. 


Palm/Passion Sunday

March 25, 2018

Many of us experienced “The March for Our Lives” in Washington D.C. and elsewhere that was broadcast to millions on Saturday, March 24, 2018. We heard the stories of young and middle-aged persons who have been affected by all kinds of gun violence. Not only the violence of Parkland, but the gun violence that has taken place and continues to take place in many cities throughout the U.S.  And to think that this march happened the day before what many of us as Christians remember on the day we call Palm/Passion Sunday. For that was also a “march” except with “Hosannas” and palm branches.

We made a decision not to have community worship at Salem this morning because of weather.  My wife and I instead had a devotion based on the readings from this day.  The gospel readings were from the Matthew 21 account of the Palm procession of Jesus into Jerusalem.  We also read the Passion account of Jesus from Mark 14-15 as it would have taken place in our worship today.   These readings caused me to immerse myself in the Gospel story; a story of self-giving, a story of sacrifice and salvation; and yet a story of love and peace.  These accounts regarding Jesus also led me to go deeper into my faith in Him and into what it might mean for those of us who believe and honor the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Palm procession and Passion are book ends of our own experience.  I find that we are all in between these two diametrically opposed views regarding Jesus.  On the one hand we laud and honor the redeemer king.  On the other, we cry out with the multitudes and shout “crucify him.”  We do this not by our words, but with our lives.  We worship and are religious in ways with which we are familiar: we attend church worship and sometimes go to Bible studies; we “say” prayers that are safe. But on the other had we deny Christ with hate and indifference toward the pressing issues of our day, like gun violence. We worship at the feet of an amendment that does not give life. Most of the time, it takes life. 

Yet, those of us who acknowledge Jesus as Lord are called to lay before the Prince of Peace, garments made up of us. We are to do what we can in order to prepare Christ’s way with actions that will bring peace to a world that its bent on violence. I was gratified by the voices I heard on Saturday, trying to bring some civility to this discussion regarding a strictly U.S. past time. Some of the comments and speeches, perhaps I could not agree with, yet it was good to hear the voices from those who honestly desire change that Jennifer Hudson et al brought to us from Edward Hawkins.  It sort of reminded me of the marches of Dr. King and devotees who also changed our world. 

As we move now into this Holy Week, toward a recognition of our Lord’s new institution and then of his death and resurrection, let us pray for and seek a death and resurrection in our lives and in this country so that hosannas may again be shouted by those who come before Him.

Pastor Capers



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