This past Sunday, I joked with Tripp that I would write his sermon for him for Palm Sunday. But that joke has been sitting with me all week, and I have actually been reflecting on the signifigance of Palm Sunday, and our role in it.
At North Shore we have been focusing our Lenten worship by being in the shadow of the cross. We have been following the lectionary readings in John. Beginning with Nicodemus; The Samaritan woman at the well; the blind man; Mary, Martha, and Lazzarus. This week is the Palm Sunday story, and there is no specific encounter with an individual, but rather a mass encounter with the crowds.
The crowd is thrilled to have this Messiah among them. Covering the road with palms, singing Hosanna, showering this man with adulation.
This is the crowd that will condemn this man to death in five days. This crowd is us.
We proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. We give to our mission societies. We make lunches and give bus passes. We shout Hosanna. We seek the to be Christ’s surrogates.
We ignore the man on the corner asking for a sandwich. We eat foods raised in unsustainable ways and transported thousands of miles. We worry about our security, but ignore the security of those with no home. We cry crucify.
This is the tension and struggle I live with, and I am pretty sure many of you reading this do, too. As mentioned in a sermon last week: I hear the news of the troubles in Burma, but I am not phased. I do not weep as Jesus wept. We cry crucify.
On the other hand, I do make lunches for the homeless, among other things. I do try to cry Hosanna and not crucify. But, such is the nature of a fallen world.
The thing we can do is just remember and be aware of this and try to proclaim Hosanna instead of crucify.
Everything we do has a consequence.
It proclaims either Hosanna or crucify.
It is a move of small steps for us.
We buy an extra sandwich when we go to lunch. We talk to the streetwise guy. We buy locally grown produce. We take the bus instead of drive. We spend time with a newly arrived refugee. We participate in groups working for justice. We work to reconcile ourselves with those who we have sinned against. We ask for forgiveness. We forgive.
To paraphrase Dr. William Shaw, God is the I AM. That is all God needs to be. We just need to be. We be. We be working for justice. We be the people of God.
We need these identifiers, and we need them to help us focus our calling.
Even though we proclaim crucify because of our sin.
We be proclamin’ Hosanna because of the grace of God through Christ that allows us to continue trying again. Every time we say crucify, Jesus says forgive them and we get another chance.
From our lips we proclaim. From our lips we say…