Holy Week of Bright Hope - Palm Sunday

We hear from Rev John Cowie, Board Chair of EMMS International and recently retired minister of Stockbridge Parish Church, to begin our series of Holy Week reflections.

My name is John Cowie and it's my privilege to be one of the trustees of EMMS International. Today's theme is the first line of a very well-known hymn – Great is thy faithfulness of God my father. It's a fitting line for today, Palm Sunday, when we remember Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The scene described in the Bible is one of euphoric, joyful celebration, of crowds of people lining the road, seizing and waving palm branches to cheer Jesus on. With that kind of support, it must have seemed to Jesus' disciples that everything was possible and the way was easy. We know of course, what is coming, that it wasn't going to be easy for Jesus and those who followed him. But we are sustained by the knowledge of God's faithfulness, as Jesus was through that week and through on Easter Sunday morning. And we'll travel with him through Good Friday to the emptiness of Easter Saturday, to celebrate the love and the grace of God on Easter Day. It's just a week away, but I'm impatient to get there already.


Last week, we celebrated the beginning of our journey with Sunita, our latest EMMS project and adventure of faith. In hindsight, it might seem smooth, but for the people involved, it probably felt like a very bumpy road full of uncertainties. During the launch conference on April 1, we heard from those who were involved in taking plans for a palliative care training Centre in Nepal, from a dream to bricks and mortar, from an idea to a wonderfully equipped centre. Those who were involved in planning and fundraising, praying and building journeyed in faith together. What sustained them and what sustains me and what I hope sustains you is the knowledge that we can depend on God every day. He doesn't only work in dramatic or extraordinary ways, but also in simple everyday ways. God's faithfulness is what binds together the extraordinary achievement of the Sunita project, with the everyday caring that it will enable in homes across Nepal. The support it will give to families, to young women, to young men. We want to teach them that God is with us always in the highs and the lows of our lives.