Palm Sunday / Sunday of the Passion
April 9, 2017
Here we are again, about to enter the holiest week of the year, caught again in its impossible tensions. We have waved our palms and shouted Hosanna as if we did not know what was coming. In a moment we will take again the part of the condemning crowd in the narrative that leads to Jesus’ death on a cross as if we never participated in such a parade crying out to him to save us.
It is our nature to want to resolve those tensions to pick one or the other. And yet our reality is a world of tensions. We are both children of God and people who commit sin in thought, word, and deed. We proclaim power and might, turning around to misuse that power against the vulnerable. We host a protest march as part of worship, challenging the political, military, economic and religious establishments, then we become participants in maintaining those structures. We live washed in the waters of baptism and we fail to live out the promises we make in response to Gods unfailing promise. We are people who cry out for salvation and who reject the salvation that is offered us. We are already resurrection people who are yet on the way to death.
Today we shout and wave – first “Hosanna! Save us!” then “Crucify! Crucify!” We get swept up by the crowd and yet somehow at the same time swept into the story of God’s salvation. We get swept up this whole week into Jesus’ story, because it the story of God coming into the midst of those tensions. It’s the story of God coming into the lives of stumbling disciples, and awe-struck soldiers, and overly-pious religious authorities, and unthinking crowds, the story of God emerging from our impossible tensions. And what happens there is sometimes gruesome, sometimes hard to imagine. It sometimes makes us painfully aware of our own failure. But we tell even the brutal parts of the story because it is there, to our depths, that Jesus comes. And it is Jesus’ presence there in the depths – in our depths – which breaks the violence, the brutality, breaks even death itself, into life for the world.
Let us now enter into contemplation of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and meditate on the salvation of the world through his sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection.