Couldn't have said it better myself...



"We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are."

Anais Nin




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday Revisited

Palm Sunday is one of those Biblical stories that we are almost over-familiar with, so it is a good idea to look at it through someone else's eyes. A couple of years ago I posted this piece lloking at it through the eyes of a Roman centurion. I initially wrote it for an event in Skainos during Holy Week, but delivered it in the Agape centre this morning as part of our Palm Sunday celebrations, following this reading:

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet:‘Say to Daughter Zion“See, your king comes to you,gentle and riding on a donkey,and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”’The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’
Matthew 21: 1-11 (NIV-UK)

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Call that a king!? Where’s his army? That rag-tag bunch of misfits and malcontents!? Oh I’m quivering in my boots. One platoon of proper soldiers could take that lot out in a matter of minutes. That’s what’s needed to keep the peace in this God-forsaken province – a firm hand… and a sharp sword…
Though why the Emperor could be bothered with this place I don’t know… The weather is lousy… the food is awful… and the people are obsessed with religion… They’re convinced that their God is the only God and that he has given them this land… I suppose in comparison with some of the other desert wildernesses around here it’s not a bad bit of real estate, but to hear them talk about it you would think it was the centre of the universe…
Because they think that their God has given them this land they don’t want us anywhere about the place. The only thing is that as much as they hate us, they seem to hate each other even more… They fight among themselves over their religion… Don’t understand a word of it myself – but if they’re fighting each other they’re not bothering us…
Mind you, messiahs are still two a penny in this province. There’s always someone ready to throw off the oppressive yoke of the empire… But they all end up the same way… Nailed to a cross so that the people can see what happens to the enemies of the empire.
But the Emperor needn’t be worried about this so-called King… He doesn’t seem up for the fight… 
We keep an eye on all these rabble rousing rabbis…We’ve got informers following all of them… reporting back what they say. With this one its all sorts of talk about loving your enemies and forgiving those who hurt you… Hardly the words of a revolutionary!  And his entrance there today bears that out… Not exactly a triumphal entry…
Now the Emperors… they know how to make an entrance… A golden chariot… Slaves captured in battle dragged along in chains… Soldiers in their parade ground best…
But this King… All he had was a bunch of northern fishermen, and some women and children… Singing old songs about salvation…
No… you mark my words… in a few days, weeks at the most, we’ll have forgotten about this guy and will have moved on to the next saviour…


Prayer:           
Jesus, Messiah…
Come to save us, not through conquest but by sacrifice
Forgive us where we forget that your Kingdom is not as the kingdoms of this world, 
where we follow the way of the world in seeking to overpower and dominate others to get our own way.
Forgive us where we cheer and celebrate when things are going our way, 
but forget that you call us to follow you along the way of the cross.
Forgive us where we are happy to lay down symbolic palm branches , 
but our not prepared to truly sacrifice our preferences, our priorities and ourselves
For others and the sake of your kingdom.
Hosanna! We are saved!
Blessed are you who came in the name of the Lord our God, AMEN.

Selah