Sunday Service - 4/17/11 - Sam Wells





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Published on Apr 18, 2011

A Palm Sunday worship service in Duke University Chapel. The Reverend Dr Samuel Wells delivers a sermon entitled "The Violin String."

Opening excerpt from the sermon: (46:03)
"Holy Week brings our hearts and souls face to face with the best and worst in us, the zenith and the nadir of human capability, the agony and the ecstasy of earthly experience." The first of the great five points of Calvinist doctrine is the notion of total depravity. Total depravity doesn't mean human beings are totally evil: it simply means that we are incapable of doing good. Such good that we appear to do is flawed in both its intention and its action. What looks like altruism is in fact cleverly-disguised egocentrism. As the prayer of confession puts it, "We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us." Holy Week gives us a depressing picture of this. The Lord of Glory is nailed to a cross. The disciples, called to watch, fall asleep. Judas and Peter, two of Jesus' closest companions, deny and betray him. Most of the other follower"

Closing excerpt from the sermon: (54:01)

"The passion of Christ shows us that Jesus is stretched out between heaven and earth, between the limitless possibilities of human goodness and the fathomless horror of human depravity. Jesus' body is stretched out like Andrew Parker's body, between the barrier of human folly and the barrier of God's grace. Jesus' body is stretched out like a violin string between the two. And the name we give that agonizing stretching-out is the cross. If we were all good, it wouldn't be so poignant. If we were all bad, it wouldn't be so painful. We're still God's creation, we're still God's beloved, so we're worth saving; but we're still cowardly, cruel and crooked, so the saving costs God everything. Jesus is the violin string stretched out between heaven and earth. And the music played on that string is what we call the gospel."

Sermon begins at 46:03. Matthew 21:1-11, 26:36-27:66
Bulletin: http://bit.ly/dYmcXE
Sermon: http://bit.ly/gXEIxJ

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