Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sermon for Year C Palm Sunday

Remember me…

Palm Sunday officially begins our journey into Holy Week,
If we were like the early pilgrims in Jerusalem
we would have set off on a walk around the city,
waving our palms, shouting HOSANNA!
Glory to God in the highest!
If the weather were a little different today
we could have set off with a procession around the block!

Regardless, the Liturgy of the Palms is the joyful part of this service,
of Holy Week.
People open their eyes and recognize
Jesus as the true King of kings.
A king like no one ever imagined.
The people—and we-- are ready to follow.

But then comes the second part of our service.
The Passion play.
The whole story of this week ahead of us is told.
It is a harsh story, a heart breaking story—
and rather than follow,
people are more likely to run away, to hide, to shake with fear,
and out of that fear, and mob mentality,
to join their voices with the mob, shouting,
“Crucify him! Crucify him!”

We don’t WANT to be part of that mob—
but the truth is,
sometimes we we are.
When things don’t work out as we hoped,
if Jesus can’t save us, rescue us, solve all our problems,
ease all our suffering,
we sometimes turn our backs,
harden our hearts and think,
“Humph! Some Messiah you are, Jesus!”

But the criminal in this story, facing his own death, says,
“Jesus, remember me…”
The criminal—the lowliest of the low--gets it.
His eyes are wide open.

Jesus is not about perfect solutions or easy answers or magic.
Jesus comes to remind us that God travels with us—
Emmanuel—God with us--
wherever our journey leads.
Through joy and through suffering.

Holy week overflows with worship services.
These worship services are purposefully placed into this week
so that we might remember,
so that we might have some set aside times
to keep what is holy holy,
to contemplate
how we are to follow—
not how we are to believe,
but how we are to follow.

One week from today will be Easter Day.
My prayer is that you will not jump from today to next Sunday
But that you will come for what is between these days.
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday morning, the Great Vigil…
Come so that we might remember together.

The intention of Holy Week--
all these many worship services--
is not to make our lives more busy.

But just the opposite.
To set aside some time
to EMPTY our lives,
to make room
for what really matters.

To remember.

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