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Perspectives by Rev. Arlyce Schiebout

Opinion - April 4, 2012 Edition

 

When the Parade Is Over

We all know about mob mentality.  We know what has happened when people do not like the outcome of sports games.  We know what can happen when peaceful marches get sidetracked and become violent or destroy property.

Jesus and his followers did not have any idea what was ahead for him or them after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday.  Disciples and the crowd joined in praise of God, and thought Jesus would be the one to save them from the oppression of the Romans.   Now that is a real celebration of Passover.  

They did not realize how soon all of that activity would change. But Jesus had set his face toward Jerusalem.

A few days later the same crowd would shout, “Crucify him, Crucify him!”

That is what convicts me. 

I can look pretty good on Sunday, but when Jesus examines my life, he likely is upset because he can find no fruit, like no repentance, no brokenness, no forgiveness, empty words seeking after God, no desire to grow in faith, and just the same old lukewarm worship practices.  

Would Jesus cast me aside just as the fig tree that bore no fruit?  Like honouring God with lip service but having a heart that is far from God’s heart of love?

I am thankful that this Holy Week engages me in that intentional time of naming and claiming the many ways that I have traded God’s love, compassion, mercy for the ways of the world.  The empty ways of the world that do not produce fruit or abundant life.  

I am also thankful that when the worst happens to me, like the tragic death of a loved one, or a broken relationship, I know that Jesus didn’t have to go to Jerusalem.  He goes there because he came to show us what real life is about.  

If that is true, then real life is about facing the difficult courageously and emerging from it a better person than you are now.

If that is true, then it means that God walks with us through all of life, and most closely through great suffering and great pain.

If that is true then it means that God triumphs over all the evil in the world, even death.  

Maybe that is what Jesus meant when he said, “You will find your life only by losing it.”  Losing it in service to others so that all may be fed, so that all the differently-abled may leap for joy, and so that all those oppressed by injustice and rigors of life may be freed to new life.  

“Just when I thought there would be no more light in the Jerusalem sky, the Bright and Morning Star appeared and the darkness has not overcome it.”  (Ann Weems, Kneeling in Jerusalem)  

Thank God that we can rise again to be the community of resurrection.  “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  God’s steadfast love endures forever.” 

Blessings for Holy Week and Easter.

 

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