Last week, we talked about how hard it is sometimes to engage in all of the fullness of worship in this strange way we're living right now, and so we offered ourselves as a light to the world. Before I share this morning's message, I want to do that.
I want us to take just a moment too remember that part of what we do when we gather to worship is to leave our gifts on the altar.
This week I'm really grateful for the generosity of the Faith community - for the ways that you have helped to feed people, the ways that you are helping to shelter people in this season, the ways that you're using your time and your talent to take care of one another in this season.
These are the gifts that we can leave at the altar. These are the gifts we leave for God today.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of all of our hearts in this space together be holy and acceptable to you, God, for you are our Rock and our Redeemer.
I want to start this morning by offering a word from Philippians 2: 5 – 11 (NRSV)
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave. Being born in human likeness and being formed in human form, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We celebrate an amazing Prophet and King, an amazing healer and teacher, an amazing person on whom the material hopes of an entire people hung.
But we celebrate Palm Sunday alongside Passion Sunday in the church in this day and age because so many people can't gather for worship to hear the rest of the story throughout Holy Week.
…because the rest of the story is hard and different.
How is it how is it that a group of people went from heralding this man as Messiah, went from a place of watching what he was teaching and doing, watching what his disciples were learning and leading toward? And then they turned? How is it they became part of the crowd - part of the crowd that pushed Herod forward, part of the crowd that pushed Pilate to make a decision, part of the crowd that needed blood.
…Needed blood to solve their problem.
These are strange times, and when I think about the unsettled nature of life right now, when I think about how we are mixed up and discombobulated and disoriented, I think I'm better able to understand how people so quickly turned from shouts of Hosanna to shouts of Crucify…
…how quickly we can go from being fine and normal and good and knowing what direction we're headed to not knowing who we are what day it is, what time of the day it is, and how we actually find toilet paper or groceries.
We go from a place of thinking we know how the world works to a place where we're not sure that we know how anything works.
It is our human nature. In our most human moments, I think we fail to keep our eyes on God. In our most human moments, we think we have the solution - that somehow if we do this the most perfect way
- if we do quarantine the perfect way
- or if we do self distancing the perfect way
- if we do each meal at our home in the perfect way…
Then somehow we can be in control
But when we realized that's not really true, our fear causes us to do other things.
I think about those gathered in Jerusalem and their hope in Jesus, but also their fear of Rome.
Their fear of not having power
- of not being having their voices heard
- of not being able to conduct their daily business
- their fear of losing what they knew and understood
and how that must have overwhelmed their hope. They saw this man that they believed was the Messiah.
And yet so quickly so quickly they turned from shouts of Hosanna to shouts of Crucify Him! Shouts of proclamation and affirmation to shouts of judgment and shouts of accusation.
We are so very human…especially when we're afraid.