March 28th 2021 – Sunday of the Passion Mark 11:1-11 and Mark 15:1-47
Lent can be inconvenient. Questions can be inconvenient. This service of the Passion with the liturgy of the palms is a wordy service with a long reading. This sermon will try to be not wordy, reflective. This sermon won’t attempt to give any answers, but only ask questions.
Hosanna and Crucify! Within days, the tone changed in Jerusalem. Hosanna and Crucify. This antithesis can be symbolic for our hope and for our reality. How do we get it together, the joyful and triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the upcoming joyfulness of Easter and the sad reality of the incident in Lynn Valley on Saturday, and our reality that we have all been suffering from self-isolation, anxiety and grief? How does the reality of faith and of hope speak into our every day reality? How does that translate into your life?
Hosanna and Crucify. A big shift in a short time. Where do our calls of joy—hosanna—turn into angry calls—crucify!—? How do we treat public figures or people from our circles of friends and acquaintances?
What hopes did the people have who sang hosanna anyway, when this mild king entered Jerusalem in humbleness? Not like the Roman authorities on strong chariots with noble horses, but on a colt rides this king; not following the line of blood of the defeated enemy in the sand, who had to walk in procession before Roman military commanders, but on branches: palm branches, olive branches (symbols of peace) and clothes (depending on the Gospel) rides this king. How could that king save anyone? How can that king save us?
Jesus is lead before the authorities. How does he resist the injustice he faces? How do we react in the face of injustice? Do we give up or stand up and look the oppressor in the eyes? Do we do that only when we are the oppressed or also for others who cannot stand up themselves? What if we are part of an unjust system ourselves?
Simon of Cyrene was called upon to help Jesus carrying the cross. Why do Christians so often speak about carrying their cross? What about helping to carry someone else’s cross? Do we need to be called to help someone carry their cross? Are we open and aware enough to even see when someone is carrying a cross and can we offer to help without being called upon?
We enter the holiest of weeks for people of Christian faith. It is a tough week to endure. What helps you to bridge this week of self-reflection, of an unadorned gaze at our society and our role within it, to handle the knowledge that the cross comes before the resurrection? How does the reality of faith and hope speak into our everyday reality? How can faith and hope enable us to see someone else’s cross and to help carrying it? How will our perspective change when we actually climb up onto Golgotha instead of remaining at the foot of the rock looking up?