Palms, Parades, and Conflict

Jesus stands in conflict with the ways of this world. Palm Sunday launches a sort of cosmic duel between: light and night, goodness and sin, love and selfishness, peace and violence, freedom and slavery, forgiveness and vengeance, courage and cowardice, hope and despair, life and death.

The Prince of Peace enters into the Royal-Temple City: the palace of politics and religion. Jesus comes astride a donkey, his feet almost dragging the ground. He does not mount a war-horse to do battle. The crowds swell, waving palm pom-poms, and laying coats on the road like a spontaneous red carpet. They pray plead and cheer for a new order: “Praise the Lord, who save us; Blessed is the coming Kingdom; Blessed is the One Coming in the Name of the Lord.

Jesus stares at King Herod’s Palace. His gaze falls on the Temple, ripe with scandal, and weeps for the coming conflict, the coming cup, our inhumanity, and the coming cross.

Mark 11:11 tells us “Then Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and looked around at everything. On the following day, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out those who were selling and buying in the temple. Jesus overturned the tables of the money-changers and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. Jesus kept saying: “Does not the Scripture teach: ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations,’ Jesus continued teaching: ‘But you have made it a den of robbers’.”

We must not view Jesus as victim or passive. No, back in the wilderness the devil offered Christ power and authority without suffering. Jesus rides into the chaos fully aware of the cost. In the garden Jesus wrestles with the cup of our salvation. Jesus does not argue his way free from Pilot or the cross. No, Jesus takes up the cross. Christ carries the sufferings, holocausts, and sins of the world. Christ marches through sin, hell, and death emerging victorious on Easter Sunday.

Sadly, the Christian religious landscape today often vacillates between cheap grace and heavy guilt. Christ offers neither. Jesus stands over all our living: calling us into life. Easter People, let us take up our cross and work to bring faith, hope, charity, courage, compassion, justice, forgiveness, freedom, peace, grace, goodness, light and love. Join us Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter as we explore this drama.

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