This is one of those Sundays that lives on a postcard of Palms and cloaks and shouts of Hosanna; God
And yet, as a preacher, it’s become one my least favorite Sundays to preach. Because I’m still in a Lenten state of mind. And in the
Waving branches and laying down cloaks as people did for royalty, for great rulers, for the Messiah.
But we’re not the people in the streets. We’re the people in the pews. We know what’s coming. We know Maundy Thursday and we know Good Friday. And we tend to skip over those. And I don’t think we really want to be those people in the streets
So as much as we want a reprieve from the solemn days of Lent, I’m afraid I’m not going to let you have it. At least not this morning, not in this sermon. Not because I’m a
That sounds an awful lot like our
This idea of rehearsing our own death happens for me personally each time I sit with someone who is dying. I’m reminded of my life. Both the fragility of it, the speed of it, and the meaning of it. And that isn’t depressing, well that’s not entirely true, it can be terribly depressing, but eventually, if I give over to it rather than fight it or ignore it, it’s
But some of us don’t like solemn. I’m encouraging you, for one week, to go there. To live into the enormous vulnerability that is this life. To think about those who will die this week, not only
Muscles that allow us to sit and listen rather
We can’t our control life, and our petitionary prayers can’t control God- but we learn to live into a better expression of who God is calling us to be, Allowing the old parts of ourselves that no longer serve us to finally die away, making room for a new birth, a
I was reminded of
Until this past Thursday morning, when this woman…an unusually thin woman, who pretty much forgot to put clothes on, came in ten minutes late and planted her mat practically on top of mine…and then started doing all kinds of big whole body movements,
And I thought…why are you here lady? For the heat in the room? It’s not to be part of the class, or of energy in the room. Yoga classes like any other group gathering, have an energy in the room, just like a sanctuary, this would be the equivalent of John Bischoff doing
It’s a wonderful question to ask others. But it’s even more meaningful to ask
Why are you here?
That’s what this season of Lent asks of us, and we have one more week to sink into this question. It’s the question that Jesus must have asked himself countless times throughout his life. And today is no exception.
Jesus knew what he would be doing by riding in, with cloaks and palms, processing in like royalty, humbly, but still processing in. And the authorities can hear it…can see it…
They aren’t just seeing cloaks and branches with their eyes, they are seeing cloaks an
But today, the cat is out of the bag…The disciples know it, Jesus knows it, but more
As scholars Borg and Crossan put it…. Two processions entered Jerusalem on a spring day in the year 30. It was the beginning of the week of Passover, the most sacred week of the Jewish year… One was a peasant procession, the other an imperial procession. From the east, Jesus rode a donkey down the Mount of Olives, cheered by his followers. Jesus was from the peasant village of Nazareth, his message was about the kingdom of God, and his followers came from the peasant class… On the opposite side of the city, from the west, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor (of Idumea, Judea, and Samaria,) entered Jerusalem at the head of a column of imperial cavalry and soldiers. Jesus's procession proclaimed the kingdom of God; Pilate's proclaimed the power of empire... Pilate's military procession was a demonstration of both Roman imperial power and Roman imperial theology.
A clash of two theologies, two anointed leaders, two followings, one a subversive threat.
The other a political power. Why are you here?
One theology, that is an understanding of God and his kingdom- strong arms and bullies. Has no regard for the poor and the oppressed. Lives as an elite off the backs of those who serve him.
The other understanding doesn’t resist but exposes that greed. Doesn’t return power with hatred, but loves- in the face of hatred. Exposes violence and evil through his willingness to walk towards the cross, towards suffering and exposes himself to the sins of this world, so that we might finally wake up and choose a new world, in Christ.
What are you here for? (
There will be days when the answer to that question is so crystal clear that waving palms and shouting hosanna is all we can do. And then there will be days when we aren’t so sure, and the other kingdom tempts us, seems easier somehow, because after
Maybe that’s why you’re here. Today. To make a choice. That no matter how blurry the lines between this world and the Kingdom of God might be, that’s our job. To admit when we’ve failed at making the distinction. To admit when we don’t know life…and to instead put ourselves in the hands of a God who does. A God we will follow…right up
till the end…
Today is the beginning of the end of something. Why are you here?
Ask that question on the hardest of days and ask it on the best of days…
Ask it in the garden of Gethsemane-when you are praying for any other way….than the way you seem to be headed…and ask it in the garden of
Let the question itself become a prayer…Why are you here?
Something’s lost and something gained in living every day…..