Parades to Passion. How do we live in the tension of the in between? (Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday Year C 2022

Almighty and ever living God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord, prepare our hearts,

To remember that these branches we hold, the ones we cut down, will be made into ashes. Remind us that a life in you is a life that holds rhythms of jubilant celebration an also sorrow and suffering.

Enter our hearts and home, enter our family and our very lives.

O Lord, even as we praise you, we know we are capable of the unimaginable and we sit in the tension of what is to come. AMEN [i]

We live in a world of contrasts and tension.

We just heard the beauty of music proclaim the story of Jesus entering into the city of Jerusalem with crowds surrounding him and at the end of our gospel there are only a scattered few and there is stillness, silence.

We are in the midst.

The story is not finished and neither are we.

Our choir members sang striking notes of beauty proclaiming both the trial, the sentencing to death, the harshness of the final days of Jesus’ life on earth and also the beauty of the moments of hope and salvation given to the least likely of people.

Palm Sunday plunges us into the tension.

A parade and shouts of Hosanna are the pleas of the people, of our hearts, “Save us.”

Save us from those who persecute us,

Save us from injustice,

Save us from the pain of this world.

Our hearts and our minds cry out, then and today.

And what does Jesus do after such a parade, a wonderful festive gathering?

He sits down for a meal, he takes the ordinary bread and wine, steeped in salvation tradition, gives thanks, and then he breaks it and shares it with his closest friends tangibly reminding them of God’s saving nature.

Jesus invites them to hear the words in a new way, in this tension, in this hopeful moment for change, to know that in the upcoming week there will be despair and at the same time hope.

Gather,

take what has been given to you,

give thanks,

be broken open and

share this message with those who will gather with you.

His message is that all will be well.

Being well in God’s eyes will not look like we might expect.

Be ready for that vision to be different.

As different as a savior riding in on a donkey rather than a noble white steed.

As different as a savior who is convicted to death and dies for humanity rather than killing or even harming another person.

As different as a king who is mocked and scourged and yet lives beyond the power of earthly kings.

As different as a king whose love convinces the centurion of his authority when every else have wandered away, abandoned their friend.

A king who chose to be with us in the most human and intimate of ways that makes us uncomfortable, requires us to take what we have been given and to model our lives after his.

To care unashamedly, to listen and speak love to those we might not want to love.

St Paul in his letter to the Philippians recognizes the divisions and opinions of his little fledgling church and he reminds them, “let us be of the same mind, the mind of Jesus.”

A mind of love, for the greater good.

A love that does not abandon, that sacrifices on behalf of the world, and reaches out to embrace each and every one of us.

A mind that lives in the midst of suffering and endures.

A mind that is reminded each time it is gathered around the table that we are a people of faith who gather in the tension, in the difficulty to take the ordinary and give thanks, be broken open to the unimaginable and realizing the hope that is given to us that we are in turn to share that with those around us.

This week, I invite you to lean into the sadness, the anger, the despair, the tension. I invite you to pray your way through this week, we offer services all week long and even an in person vigil on Thursday night where you can be here and pray. If it is your first time to attend these services or perhaps your 99th, I invite you to come, gather.

Be broken open as we gather.

Know the most difficult times are often the most intimate times for the opening of our hearts

It is in those moments we are able to, in the words of the centurion, declare “truly this man is the son of God”  with our hearts, minds, and souls.

Amen.


[i] Liturgies for Parents page 151

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