March 24, 2024: In the Name of the Lord

palm crosses

Palm Sunday

In the Name of the Lord

What does it mean to do something “in the name of the Lord”? Honestly, if I walked into a store and said that I would be taking this candy bar “in the name of the Lord,” most likely I would be arrested for theft. This sounds to me like the “Blues Brothers,” who traveled “on a mission from God.” Sounds great, but execution might be a bit lacking. Nowadays, if you say you are doing something from God, you could end up with questionable looks, arrested, or even sent for an evaluation. So, what does it look like to do something “in the name of the Lord”?

Jesus was quite clear. When you feed, clothe, visit, care for, take care of—those are the direct meanings of “in the name of the Lord.” You don’t need to say it, you don’t need to prove it, you don’t even need to share it. Simply doing the work is doing God’s work. Go into the grocery store and buy food for the food pantry. Take a person to lunch who could not afford the meal. Visit the person in the nursing home that never gets visitors. Call a neighbor who lives alone and offer company.

Any time we reach out “to the least of these,” we are doing God’s work. So, do not go into your local store and take something “in the name of the Lord.” However, go and volunteer, buy and donate, visit, welcome, reach out, connect. Do all of these “in the name of the Lord.” You don’t need to advertise your service for God to know your heart. As we walk into this difficult week, we begin with a dramatic welcome. May we welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, visit the sick, just as fervently as we shout “Hosanna!”

Katie Van Der Linden, pastor
Ebenezer Moravian Church,
Watertown, Wisconsin