Palm Sunday, 2015
Our journey through Lent began on Ash Wednesday, which now seems like a long time ago. And yet, every Wednesday, a small group of us gathers for mid week Eucharist, and together we pray the litany of penitence from the Ash Wednesday service so that we are ever mindful of the fact that we are all works in progress, constantly in need of God’s forgiveness and healing.
For weeks I have participated in this litany, and it wasn’t until this past Wednesday that a particular line from the absolution stood out to me in a new way. We pray that God will grant us true repentance and the Holy Spirit, so that “those things may please God which we do on this day, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy…”
I bring this to your attention because in many ways this is why we participate in Lent and the services of Holy Week...to remember that we have been forgiven and that we are constantly returning to God to make our lives pure and holy. We journey with Jesus during this most difficult time because it is not only an invitation to us to acknowledge our brokenness and need for healing, but also as a way of remembering all that was done for us out of the deep love of God.
I think this is why the words get stuck in my throat when we all say “Crucify him” during the passion gospel. Couldn’t we just skip over that part or at least not say it so loudly? For obvious reasons, the answer is no. But I think it makes us uncomfortable because of the awareness that we have of how those words were originally spoken with such anger and hatred. We want to think that we’re above, beyond, and more evolved than those who could say such horrible things. And yet, these two simple words remind us of the times we have not acted from a place of love. They remind us of the explicit and implicit ways that we have participated in the death, destruction and humiliation of others in the world and the creation itself. If we believe our brothers and sisters contain the image of Christ within them, then whether we are conscious of it or not, we routinely participate in the ongoing crucifixion of Christ in the world around us. And this is a hard reality to face...and this is part of our journey that begins on this most solemn day.
Today, we entered into kairos time--God’s time. You can’t mark God’s time on a clock; it’s fluid. God’s time is an opportunity to reflect on the love we’ve been given, to acknowledge our brokenness, and to be open to transformation. Over the course of the week we will pray, extinguish candles, wash each other’s feet, join with faltering friends in a meal, keep watch, and experience the empty tomb. And we will also celebrate the resurrection. I invite you into kairos time to explore the complexity of our Christian life together.
Let us pray.
Holy God, whose only Son gave himself to us without limit and without reserve, and who fills us with the love by which to love others: enable us to give ourselves to our enemies and friends so that they may know the immeasurable love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (adapted from Raymond Hockley in The Wideness of God’s Mercy)
I don't know what the future of the church is, but I know that we will continue to be a place of sanctuary and hope, working towards healing in the world.