Iran continues to rise, fomenting trouble in Syria and Iraq, where the United States is helping Iran try to retake Tikrit. Iran has helped destabilize Yemen, prompting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and others to attack Yemen, a move against Iran that is supported by the U.S. Meanwhile, Israel fears for its existence and has tense relations with the White House. Very worrisome news.
Will Sunday's worship offer any insight? It will be Palm Sunday, Jesus riding into Jerusalem to the praise of the crowds but knowing that He will suffer, die and rise again. We've observed decades of Palm Sundays but this year it comes amidst "wars and rumors of war" (Matthew 24:6).
St. Matthew presents Jesus' triumphal entry as the fulfillment of Zechariah 9. That chapter promises - key word, promises - judgment on the violence of nations but promises deliverance to God's people. "No more shall an oppressor pass through them, for now I have seen with My eyes. 'Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation.... The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be from sea to sea" (9:8-11).
Then Zechariah describes us who worship Sunday amidst worldly worries. "Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you" (9:12). That's what to take with you from today's Minute; we are "prisoners of hope."