Palm Sunday April 5, 2020

       But this year, this is what we have.  Oh we’ll do versions of Good Friday and Vigil online, that will be helpful, and authentic – a bishop in the church spoke of striving not for perfection, but faithfulness in our observances – we can do that.  But like most everything else right now, we are apart.  Not alone, not abandoned, actually very much connected in thought and prayer and compassionate concern, maybe more so than in any time in my lifetime, but we are apart, solitary or just with our intimate family. 

       Not much should be said on Palm Sunday: the Passion says what needs saying.  What I encourage each of you to do, what I will be doing this week, is reading the passion tales, in each of our Gospels.  Reading them and meditating on how alone Jesus was.  Oh, he had His friends and disciples nearby, but the connection between them was strained, it was in a moment of transition from their earthly ministry together to Jesus returning to the right hand of God, His errand of redemption in this realm complete, and He was pulling away.  They didn’t want Him to go to Jerusalem; they freaked out when He mentioned the fate He faced; they quarreled about who was His favorite; they betrayed Him, didn’t stay awake with Him, abandoned Him…

       We are called to the Way of Jesus, to follow Jesus on His way, to, as St. Paul writes,

“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God 
as something to be exploited, 

but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave, 
being born in human likeness. 

And being found in human form,
he humbled himself 
and became obedient to the point of death– 
even death on a cross.”

       Things are happening now that no one wants to be happening.  I keep hearing that, “I don’t want this to be happening.”  Jesus didn’t want what was happening to Him to be happening either, but it was happening, horrors do happen… are happening right now.  Good Fridays happen all the time.  And, as Jesus knew, that was not the end of the story.

       St. Paul continued in his letter to the church in Phillipi,

“Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name 
that is above every name, 

so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend, 
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 

and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
to the glory of God the Father.”

       I urge you to spend time with the Passion this week.  I think we all need to in this moment in history.  There is Hope, capital “H” stripped altars, 22nd Psalm, Good Friday, God-is-gone-from-the-world, Christ Crucified Hope in the words of the Passion, in The Word of God.  Now more than ever.  AMEN

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