Monday, March 17, 2008

Palm Sunday and into Holy Week

The eight days from Palm Sunday through Easter tell the story and recount the events that are the core of the Christian Faith. It is important for the deepening of our faith to make the effort to walk with Jesus through this week. When we take this walk we are reminded every year that the story of Jesus, his betrayal, crucifixion, death and resurrection did not happen in the imagination of the distant past, nor was it conceived in the realm of myth and legend. When we walk with Jesus this week we are reminded that these events happened in a real place, to real people in real time.

Palm Sunday begins the week. Jesus, the King of Kings, rides a donkey into Jerusalem. He does not ride the horse of a conquering warrior, rather, he rides the donkey of a King come in peace. An oppressed populace welcomes him shouting "Hosanna -- Save Us" waving the palm branch substitute flag of an occupied people. This is the beginning and it is also the end.

The uproar not only angers the religious leaders in Jerusalem (some of them tell Jesus to make his followers stop) it also gets the attention of the Roman Governor (Pontius Pilate). The religious leaders are protecting their Tradition and traditions. The Romans hated riots and civil unrest over anything else. The religious leaders sought to discredit this upstart Rabbi named Jesus of Nazareth so the people would not chase after him to do this they chose to question and debate with him and seek someone who would betray him quietly. The Romans would choose to treat him as a usurper, an insurrectionist and would choose to crucify him.

Curiously, from the uproar and tumult of Palm Sunday it takes 3 days for anything else to happen. Jesus calmly walks from Bethany to Jerusalem on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and well into Thursday before there is trouble. Three days of plotting, planning by the opposition. Three more days of Jesus sitting on the teacher's steps and telling the people of Jerusalem about God's unconditional, unimaginable and undeniable love.

Religious people never seem to get this. People in power who are primarily concerned with maintaining control cannot get this.

Walk with Jesus this week . . . and, just maybe, you'll get it.

Dr. BJ

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