March 29, 2015, Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion Yr B

Year B, Palm Sunday
March 29, 2015
The Reverend Dr. Brent Was


I am not going to follow the example of Paul Harvey and say, “and now, for the rest of the story.” This story, though it may be too big for words, speaks for itself.

This portion of the liturgy, the sermon, is designed to bring the cares and concerns of right here and right now into conversation with ancient texts, Holy Scriptures; the experiences of long ago and far away. In that conversation, based on a common object, scripture, we have a shared experience across the centuries and meaning can be made, truth can be discerned, lives can be enriched and relationships strengthened. That’s the goal, anyway. Today, the Holy Scripture we encounter, the story we are told is the culmination of the history of salvation.   It is a story, one of the greatest stories ever told, and it is our story. It is the narrative of a very particular time and place, and in the course of human events a rather ordinary time and place where, indeed, something very extraordinary happened.

What happened? Well, that’s the story. Entering Jerusalem. Sharing a Passover meal. Waiting in that garden for that final shoe to drop. Betrayal. Arrest. Trial. Humiliation and abuse. All at the hands of his own people, then again at the hands of the Empire, his own calling, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Then the scourging, the crown of thorns, the way of the Cross that leading Him on that long road up that terrible hill. The crucifixion. The agony. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”   Then a cry, a final breath, and it was finished.

What does it all mean? What do we make of it all? This story is too big to explain. Too important to be left to someone like me to interpret. This story, the Passion of our Lord and Savior, it is too big to be simply told, put to words, given voice. This is why I plead, “Come to Holy Week!” Remember the Last Supper with your heart and mind and body as we eat and sing together like they did. Imagine the agony of the garden while you try to keep awake at Nightwatch. Be humbled and muddled and confused as you bow before the Cross of Christ on Good Friday. Meditate and breathe, reflect and ponder in the in between time that is Holy Saturday. Then, and maybe only then, after moving through and being in this story, this monumental story, this story too great for words, then we are ready for the joy of the light of Christ returning at sundown on Saturday, and again on the Sunday of the Resurrection. (We have ham at that one).

This story, a story that is in so many ways too big for words, is laid out for us this week. So please join us on this walk to the Cross. God alone knows what you will find. AMEN.