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Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday Year A RCL April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday goes to the heart of what it is to be human. Palm Sunday reveals darker aspects of our humanity which we avoid, aspects which we will do almost anything to explain away. As we look at this crowd, we watch this horror being played out, we would do well to look squarely into the face of our darkness.

We welcome our hero. We throw palms into his path. But we have an agenda for our hero. He is the mighty one who will overthrow the Roman Empire and free us. When he does not act according to our agenda, when he refuses to meet violence with violence, we kill him. It is that simple. In this crowd, we see things about ourselves. We see things which have been played out in Auschwitz, over and over again in the Holy Land, in Ireland, in the Balkans, all over the world, and in our own cities and villages.

Jesus came to show us another way, but, if we have an agenda that is different from his, we can literally be trying to kill him. There is something in us that, unwittingly and unconsciously, and with the highest motives of doing right, can set out to kill ultimate goodness.

We need to be wary of our agendas. We need to be wary of any idea that we have the true way or the right solution. Jesus is the way and the Truth, and the Life. We are not.

I believe that this is truly what Palm Sunday is about, We are a fickle lot, and we want our own way. Christ, who could have summoned a thousand thousand armies, hangs there and shows us what it is to be helpless in the midst of the most humiliating form of death reserved for criminals and yet makes it into a glorious new way of letting go and letting God bring new life.

Let us not flinch from looking at out own dark side, our own brokenness, for looking honestly at our darkness and sin enables us to see the wholeness of our Lord’s saving love and the light of his leading in the Way of the Cross.

Palm Sunday goes to the heart of what God is like. God wades into the middle of our sin and hatred. God allows us to nail God to that cross. God does not walk away. God does not strike back and annihilate us. God forgives us, for we have no idea what we are doing. But, in that forgiveness and healing, God calls us to a higher level of awareness of our brokenness and destructiveness and of God’s ability to make all of it whole.

Amen

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