Summary: An all-age talk with a ’Presidential’ illustration, party invitations, a rap-song, and an act of commitment involving Palm crosses - designed to challenge people to welcome Jesus.
President Barack Obama arrived at Stansted airport last week from America, complete with armoured limousines, helicopters, 200 US Secret Service staff and a six-doctor medical team. More than 500 officials and staff accompanied Obama, along with a mass of high-tech security equipment, including the $300,000 Presidential limousine, known as ’The Beast’ which is fitted with night-vision cameras, reinforced steel plating, tear gas cannons and oxygen tanks. In addition, a team from the White House kitchen travelled with the President, amid huge razzmatazz. His presidential jet, Air Force One, a Boeing 747-200B is fitted with its own gym, electronic defence units and shielding to protect its complete communication devices from nuclear radiation. A BBC reporter described him as, “The man in whom so many people have invested their hopes and dreams at this difficult time in world affairs.”
Many people are wondering if he is ‘The One’, and I wonder if like me, you felt that he was greeted in the UK almost as a kind of Messiah. But Obama can’t be The Messiah because Jesus of Nazareth is The Messiah – King of the Jews - The Christ – The Anointed One – The promised King!
I want us to imagine a group of very special people. Imagine very special arriving at Christ Church right now for a big party; and this group of people contains 10 of the most special people the world has ever known (the C10). Who would you include if we – the congregation of Christ Church – were to draw up a list of party invitations to 10 people – saints, inventors, storytellers, charity workers and community heroes? I need the names of 10 wonderful people!
(Ask people from the congregation to name candidates for the invitation list, making sure that people of all ages have a chance to suggest names)
I’m sure some of those are great ideas, but I haven’t invited any of those just yet; because my invitations are for each one of you. God invites you – special people- to celebrate the gift of Jesus the Messiah. So I’m going to invite 10 of you to represent all of you. (Give out 10 envelopes to 10 people. Each envelope must hold a piece of paper with ‘Jesus’ written on it)
All of my 10 guests have decided to invite a VIP to Christ Church and the time has come for each of them to reveal the name of their chosen VIP. (Envelopes are opened and ‘Jesus’ is shouted out)
Jesus was welcomed as King by the crowd on Palm Sunday. God invites all of us to share in that celebration. My 10 guests have all decided to invite Jesus to be our VIP. Is he your VIP?
We’re going to sing a rap-song together now. What I need you to do is to chant each line after me, and to cheer madly when I lift my arms into the air:
Hear the people cheer (arms in the air)
Riding on a donkey
See the King appear (arms in the air)
Riding to Jerus’lem
In lowliness and love
Jesus the Messiah
Sent from heaven above (arms in the air)
(Sing the song twice)
And if you want to be a person who welcomes Jesus gladly then I want to invite you to do something. If you want to welcome Jesus into your life for the first time or if you want to renew your commitment to Jesus Christ then I want you to come and collect a palm cross from me. It will symbolise your desire to welcome Jesus and to say “Yes” to Him as we join in with the celebrations that took place on the road to Jerusalem – celebrations that welcomed Jesus as Messiah and King. I hope you’ll all collect one. Amen!