Palm Sunday; Mark 14:1 – 15:47
The Gospel we are about to read is at the center of our faith. We hear most of it in smaller, more digestible chunks at different times. This is the only time of year that we get the chance to hear the whole story altogether.
Next week we celebrate the risen, divine Christ. Today we grapple with the reality of Jesus the man as he lived and shared and suffered and died.
We, the church, have vast and varied theological constructs surrounding Jesus’ death on the cross, some more palatable or popular than others: substitutionary atonement, ransom theory, Christus victor, the moral example theory, the list goes on- all to explain why Jesus died. There are deep truths to be learned in exploring these theories. But the fact is, die he did – not for the sake of theology, but for the sake of humankind.
Today I am asking you to leave the theological constructs and the whys and wherefores behind. Listen. Really listen. Open your mind and your heart and live these few hours with Jesus. Know the gritty, salty human reality of betrayal, violence and self-centered grasping for power. Feel the weight of the cross, but more importantly experience the hope inherent in the all-encompassing, self-emptying love of the man who died upon it, servant and king.
We will not have a sermon today. We will have a brief period of silence after the reading to allow the Spirit time to resonate within our hearts and minds and souls. To hear what the Spirit is saying to the church; what the Spirit is saying to us.