So much change, so fast.
Passion reading: Matthew 26:14-27:66
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, or Palm & Passion Sunday. Usually at New Life, we just stick with Palm Sunday, and let the passion story, the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death, unfold in the readings of Holy Week - the last supper on Maundy Thursday; the story of the passion on Good Friday. This year, we will not gather at the land to read those texts, so the “sermon” today is really the long passion reading.
We start with the triumphal entry: Jesus coming into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David!” And people throwing their coats on the road, and cutting branches from the side of the road to lay down and create a royal highway. At New Life, we usually cut poverty weed, also called Roosevelt weed, false-willow. This native but aggressive plant needs to be controlled anyway, so it is good for us to trim it on the land. The people in Jerusalem cut branches from their roadside, including palms. Coats were expensive and rare in those days, so even though this man rode a donkey, not a mighty steed, the people were showing great hope and respect to make such a path for him.
They were hoping for the Messiah, to overthrow the Romans, liberate the people, reunite their nation and their faith.
Things changed so fast. Jesus taught in the Temple, attracted crowds for a few days. And then he was arrested, tried, tortured and put to death in just 24 hours.
This is a time to remember that Jesus came to live here, fully human. Jesus lived through things changing fast, so he is with us in times of rapid change, and he knows. He was in this world in a time of fear and uncertainty, and he knows. He came for this reason, so that in times of fear and pain, we would know that God is with us, in all of it, 100%, all in, completely. With us.
Amen and amen.