God's work for us.

Palm/Passion Sunday
Year C
Luke 23:1-49

Holy Week begins this Sunday.  We may, or may not, come from a church tradition which made much of Holy Week.  Some of us grew up in churches where there was Palm Sunday and then there was Easter Sunday and not much in between.  Or, if there was, we didn't go. 

Palm Sunday, however, is the beginning of something big and like all big stories it begins with a group of people who aren't expecting what comes next.  We will gather outside our chapel in Royat and bless the palms and read a short Gospel reading about the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  We will be quite accurate in our reading of the story if we understand it as a joyful event - the committed followers of Jesus along with assorted bystanders staging a joyful and somewhat irreverent invasion of the holy city of Jerusalem.  Our children at Christ Church will each grab a branch and act the story out by marching around our little chapel.  I suspect they will talk about it afterwards and will remember it when they're old.  And so we might not be expecting the main Gospel reading during the Communion service to be the story of Jesus condemnation and crucifixion - which it is. 

Unless we see the connection between these two stories, the joyous and populated story of the Triumphal Entry leading into the story of the lonely struggle of the Son of God given into the hands of sinful men we might suspect that the Rector has glued together two liturgies which don't belong together. 

Gone now is the dialogue between the parable maker and his hearers, gone is the succession of miracles and the explanation of their meanings - gone is the whole Galilean Springtime.  There remains now only God's lonely struggle against sin through the agency his own Person.  We are now bystanders - like Peter beside the fire, like the women of Jerusalem who wept, like the Centurion who beheld. 

The work of the Cross is God's work for us.  Our own sufficiency, like that of even Christ's most cherished apostles, proves itself worthless.  And we might not have expected that.

Popular posts