Share this blog!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Palm Sunday/Liturgy of the Passion Year A Matthew 21:1-11, Philippians 2:5-11, Isaiah 50-4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16

Today Jesus comes in riding on a donkey.

We waved our palm branches and sang our songs. We welcomed our king. Any king, senator, or prince who comes into Jerusalem gets the same welcome. Only VIPS. It’s like rolling out the red carpet for the president. It’s like being on your best behavior when the principal comes to visit your classroom. It’s like wearing your best suit to meet your boss. It’s common behavior, meant to impress and welcome the king. But is Jesus a king? All he has done up to now is hang around with poor folks and sinners. He sleeps in fields and doesn’t even own his own home. He is a homeless wanderer, sweaty and dirty.

Today I proclaim the liberation of the captives and the coming of the peace of Christ

Passing the Peace means just that. When we greet each other in the name of Christ we spread his peace. Peace is not simply the absence of war. Peace is all of your children safe under one roof, with fresh clothes, clean sheets, open windows, full bellies, and the hope of a safe tomorrow. Peace is knowing you can take your kids to church in the morning without risking arrest. Peace is being right with God, no guilt, Romans says There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

What does the story of holy week mean to me?
It means that I must be willing to be a servant. We have lost the meaning of this word. A servant is low, the bottom of the totem pole, the one everyone either spits on or ignores. Instead of understanding servants we go to fast food joints and expect great service. A fast food employee would probably be the closest we understand to a servant. Wash tables, minimum wage, scrub toilets, fry burgers, drop fries in grease, and deal with people all day who could care less who you are and what kind of person you are deep inside.
Jesus is asking me to be like that?
He is showing by example, riding on a donkey when he has every right to ride on a stallion…he’s driving a sputtering, stalling ford escort when he has every right to be driven in a luxury limousine. He’s refusing to place himself above anyone else.
He’s the last one home when the church has a potluck because he’s sweeping up the food on the floor and washing dishes at the sink, and carrying out trash. Jesus is mopping floors at the church when he has every right to sit in the new recliner watching TV on his new big screen. Jesus is the one who takes food to his neighbor who is laid up with a broken leg and may even be late to work because of his stop. Jesus is the one who invites people over after church and cooks a meal for them when he’d rather be eating out, being served, rather than serving, and then heading to bed for a nap.

Riding into Fayetteville, Arkansas, in a sputtering old car, leaving his limo behind, Jesus stops at every corner to give money to the homeless beggars with signs that say, “Will work for food.”

But while he’s driving that sputtering, stalling vehicle people get the idea that he is the presidential material and not just an average joe. So they start screaming out, “Jesus for President” “Run for office, we’ll elect you!” Jesus only smiles, the sweat pouring down his back because the air conditioner is broken. They get out their checkbooks and tell Jesus if he’ll just run for president, they’ll finance his campaign. If he could just straighten out this country that’s going you-know-where in a handbasket, and make these streets safe again, then everything would be a-ok. They’ve seen his power, they know he has healed that woman who had breast cancer, and that man who had colon cancer. They know Jesus has been hanging around the homosexuals with aids and curing them left and right. They know Jesus has even raised a child from the dead whose single mother was on welfare and didn’t have the money to take him to the hospital. And just before driving into Fayetteville, Jesus was in Pea Ridge at the little league field healing a child whose face was swollen from being slapped around by his stepfather. Day before yesterday he was at the Benton County women’s shelter healing all the bruises and the broken bones left by angry men.

So if Jesus will just become president then everything will be ok again. He’ll put prayer back in schools and give every teacher a copy of the Ten commandments to hang on the wall. He’ll make every principal go to Bible college and teach Sunday school lessons in the cafeteria. Why Jesus will make the hospitals stop fighting the insurance companies and give everyone better care. Why if Jesus has his way when he becomes president he will make science teachers teach creation instead of evolution. Why when Jesus becomes president all the violence will be taken off of TV and instead good, wholesome family entertainment will be shown every hour. Lassie will come home and leave it to beaver will say Yes, sir.

When Jesus comes driving into town in his sputtering, stalling car we will get out our checkbooks and finance his campaign. We will knock on every door with flyers and open voting booths at every church. We’ll get him out of the ripped up pair of ancient jeans and old ratty t-shirt and we’ll put Jesus in a 3 piece suit with a shirt and matching tie.

But the night of the national convention Jesus doesn’t show up in this three piece suit and Regis shirt and matching tie. We are all ready with our campaign posters waving and NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC cameras all fired up and waiting.
The crowd grew impatient and the leaders tried to calm them down but all of a sudden they started crying “assassinate him”
One of the messenger boys comes running in with a report that they’ve found him.
He’s down in a trailer in beaver hollow road
What those people don’t go to church. What’s he doing hanging around them. They got in their cars and ran down there…
They found the escort in the driveway. Jesus was in the trailer with a single mother. Her four children had the flu in various stages. Jesus sat next to the little girl’s bed and held her hand.
“What are you doing here when you could be out making a difference?” Asked his campaign leader. These people don’t vote! That child can’t even reach the voting booth.
I am making a difference Jesus replied.
Where’s the suit and tie? Where’s the clean shaven image? Jesus we told you to get rid of that beard!

By now all the reporters had crammed into the tiny room.

Why aren’t you at the convention?
I’m doing the work for which I was sent.

The child whimpered. Jesus reached for the cold cloth for her head.

One of the more hot-headed men began screeching! Give us back our campaign money.
This guy is a fraud!

The crowd crammed into the tiny trailer. It began to shake on its rusty rims.

Someone ran back to his fancy pickup and got the shotgun off the rack
He took aim through the tiny window.
How dare he take my campaign money and not show up to be nominated to my political party! He was going to take evolution out of the schools and put the 10 commandments back into the curriculum.

The kick of the gun knocked the man back into the ditch behind the trailer. The bullet went wild and hit the ceiling of the tiny trailer.

Jesus fell over the child. The bullet hit him instead.

No comments: