Year B, Palm Sunday March 25, 2018 The Reverend Dr. Brent Was
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!”
Movement. Lots of movement. Jesus’ ministry was in motion. Actually, the whole Christian story is one of progress, movement, motion, from the beginning, through the present moment and on to the fullness of time: as it was, is now and ever shall be. The message of Jesus Christ is a way, The Way to God. The Way, The Truth, The Life.
The liturgies of Holy Week teach us as they move us through the last week of Jesus’ life. Our liturgy today sets us on this course. We made our turn around the property this morning, remembering that movement into Jerusalem. On Maundy Thursday, we’ll start downstairs at our Agape feast, our recollection of the Last Supper and the mandate to love one another. Then following the Altar Guild up to the sanctuary, we’ll go onto our knees and wash each other’s feet and then sit in vigil like Jesus asked His disciples to do in that garden so long ago.
After remaining with Jesus all night, on Friday we’ll walk the Stations of the Cross. Then we’ll all move to the foot of the Cross itself, venerating it in the Good Friday Liturgy. Then we’ll gather at Sundown out front. We’ll kindle the light of Christ and process into the sanctuary. Then hearing the Exsultet, the great prayer of the Church, we’ll journey through our salvation history, and then process again, this time downstairs, to the baptistery. As they did at Easter vigils two thousand years ago, we’ll welcome five of our brothers and sisters into the family of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of Holy Baptism. With these new brothers and sisters in tow, we’ll process again, up to the sanctuary, light the candles and celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. And we say that big word that starts with “H” and ends with “A” over and over and over again.
Moving, moving, moving. Lots of moving this week. We’re always moving, physically, breathing, our heart beating, sending blood coursing through our veins. And we are always moving, spinning on an axis, hurtling around our Sun, around the center of our galaxy, through the cosmos, perpetual motion. The Holy Spirit represents this aspect of the personality of God, the movement of energy, light and life that simply is. And all that movement, all that movement that is life moves us also, each of us, one step closer to death; this week towards the death of Jesus Christ. For as we live in Christ, we die in Christ also. In our baptism we are brought to life by being buried with Jesus. For in time and space we move, always move, that is nature of things, Jesus teaches us this in His lifetime of movement. From that Manager in Nazareth to that Cross on Golgotha, He never stopped, and neither can we. And at the very same time, as true as we experience the chances and changes of this life, we also encounter the eternal change-lessness of God, our rock and our salvation. Always moving, never moved. “But O! How far have I to go to find Him in whom I have already arrived.”
I invite you to join us in our movement into the eternal joys of Easter by way of the bitter horrors of Holy Week. Come if you can, read your Bible, follow the liturgies at home if you can’t. In either case, this week I’m making a leap of faith. I’ll be doing my best to simply let these stories stand on their own. The stories themselves are “infinitely more important” than whatever explanations we have to offer, certainly than I have to offer. These stories have sustained our ancestors for thousands of years; trust yourself to hear them. Trust them to carry you, too. AMEN