Tuesday, April 04, 2006

PALM SUNDAY Click Here for the Readings
On this Sunday we mash all of Holy Week -- Palm Sunday to Good Friday into one day. Since many do not attend mid week services it became necessary to add the Good Friday crucifixion reading to the Grand Entry into Jerusalem. I think it causes somewhat of a spiritual whiplash to start with one and move immediately to the other. But am glad as many as possible can hear the entire drama preceding Easter even if there is no time to chew on the meaning of it all bit by bit.
Lent has been a time of reflecting on how far from God we can drift in our distracted non-stop world. Instead of a continual running of rapids we can look more deeply into the waters of life. I hope this is true for me anyway. Palm Sunday is the epitome of how far away we can go - the people of Jesus' days in the flesh had and we have many ideas of the nature of God. Some saw him as nothing - just another crazy prophet who was not grounded in real life under the rule of Rome. Some hoped he would be the liberator - the one who would overthrow the Empire. Some greeted him as the one who would remove them from daily life into a spiritual realm - into a separatist group of like minded persons. What is our hope and belief?
By the end of the week - all our ideas are smashed against the cross. No one thought of God as hanging in weakness and death as a Way. We have a hard time with this concept - that through ultimate vulnerability and identification with those who suffer abuse at the hands of power - can come resurrection and new life. This is the message of the cross. When Elie Weisel writes in Night of the question asked when children were being hung and tortured in the prison camps of Germany during the Holocaust "Where is God?" the answer always comes back "God is hanging there." When we ask "where is God" when we see the stories of Darfur, the answer is "in the camps with the refugees." When the people in the gospel - Matthew 25 - ask, "When did we see you? Feed you? Clothe you? Visit you in prison?" the answer is "When you fed, clothed, visited, cared for the least of these - my brothers and sisters."
God is like the Persistent widow - continually knocking on the doors of our hearts - seeking justice for all God's people.