PALM SUNDAY

April 14, 2019

Palm-Sunday-

James Tissot – Jesus Enters Jerusalem

LUKE 12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: 15 “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. 17 So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. 18 It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. 19 The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”

If Jesus had left his entrance into Jerusalem to the public relations firm Peter preferred, the entrance in the Holy City would have been splashier and turned out differently.  I learned a long time ago that ability to function as I in midst general demand for We is the great challenge of human life in general and leadership in particular.

His disciples loved Jesus, of course, but in an egocentric way that promoted conflict over who “they” would be in the new administration.  “Let Jesus be the head, but we will be right there. I want to be Secretary of State in the coming Kingdom.”

Jesus took control of his destiny, entering his own way, no on a war horse or chariot of Roman triumphs.  Taking his cue from the prophet Zachariah, he mounted the sharp backbone of a donkey’s colt, entering in great humility, not the feigned modesty of the perceptive politician.

Why?  First let’s look at the Epistle for today.

 PHILIPPIANS 2:5-8   Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.

Note that glory was not something essential Jesus’ identity as God, nor did he consider his divine status necessary, he emptied himself of divine prerogative, but emptied, humbled himself.   Why?  I think Theodoret, a Fifth Century  Father, was clearly on the money when he wrote,

Being God, and God by nature, and having equality with God, he thought this no great thing, as is the way of those who have received some honor beyond their merits, but, hiding his merit, he elected the utmost humility and took the shape of a human being.  Epistle to the Philippians 2.6-7  

 – Theodoret, Bishop of  Cyrrhus 393 – 457 AD

Palm 2

Egyptian Coptic Icon of Palm Entry

Jesus didn’t need to prove anything to anybody, nor claimed more than he merited.  He took a lower place as a servant.  Being God he never felt he had anything to prove to anybody.  That sense of self defeated the evil tempter in the wilderness.  In addition this hymn reveals that servanthood, humility and emptying of self (I would say “contraction” from the theme of our reflection) are legitimate and full expressions of God’s being.

Beloved, my prayer is that I grow such that I am no longer effected by the change of circumstances.  My identity is in God so I need not protect my ego.  I can see there, but I am not yet there.  I long for that place and my longing is a gift from God.  Let us elect the utmost humility, giving up the rule of our ego.  I know it is a better place, but my ego is frightened. That of course doesn’t feel good but it is good.

Ego pain is birth pain.

In hope, in spite of the facts.

John

January 26, 2009

National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Sav...

National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Saving Assembly of the U.S.A. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The journey is easier at the beginning and the end than the middle when we are far from home and home. As I approach old age I find it hard to remember a time when ministry did not inhabit a large space in my inner life.  I was baptized at eight scared into the Kingdom at a Baptist revival. But that was only the outer thing, the thing that hooked my fear and plunged me into the fishpond at the White place almost fifty years ago.  It was at the same farm that as a three year old I sat in great-aunt Myrtie’s lap on the bank of Anderson creek as my parents were baptized down in the pool formed by a gravel bank.

 Thought some might doubt it, I remember it clearly. Like a scene from a movie people were standing and sitting by the water. The grass was green in the way it is in the South before being scorched by the August Sun.  Folk went down into the water lost and came up found. I’ve learned since then that found takes a long time. The pilgrimage to God is rarely dramatic it is mostly as an old timer in AA says, “the inevitability of gradualness.”

This was before the Baptist got “baptisteries” those walk-in bathtub artificial kind of “improvements” that keep us from nature and perhaps [they are unnatural which mates poorly with the] super-natural as well.  However well intended these innovations are, what is gained in convenience is lost in affect. There is something about inconvenience that is comforting in its discomfort.  Coming to God is not convenient.

I read today in Anglicans on line that a group of clergy, God help us, are bringing a resolution before the Synod of the Church of England that Easter be fixed on the same Sunday every year.  This is about as foolish a proposition as I’ve heard.  We will convenience ourselves into nothing at all. C. S. Lewis once said that “the Gospel can be of no concern. The Gospel can be of ultimate concern. The Gospel can never be of moderate concern.”  The convenience of moderation has the affect of warm water it is wet but not refreshing.

We cover the cross with so many layers that it is obscured from the casual observer. JWS

No Excuses for Missing Church

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September 8, 2013 228

I suppose one of the “advantages” of   The Anglican Church being a State Church is that people have incentive to show up on Sunday.  The consequences of missing church was greater than the mild em·bar·rass·ment…

noun: embarrassment
1.
a feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness.
“I turned red with embarrassment”

synonyms:

mortification, humiliation, shame, shamefacedness, chagrin, awkwardness, self-consciousness, sheepishness, discomfort, discomfiture, discomposure, agitation, distress

…of running into the Rector that afternoon at lunch?

No Excuses for Missing Church

Saint Olaves Church

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Today I wandered out Bootham Bar in search of Saint Olaves Church where I plan on worshipping on Sunday.  Turning left on Marygate I walked toward the Ouse keeping   the  massive walls of Saint Mary’s Abbey on my left.  In a couple of blocks I came up the church. It is tucked right into the walls of the ruined Abbey.  Through the gate I went and around me saw the beautifully maintained flower beds and walks. I thought, “someone loves this place.

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Inside I found a company of the  Holy Women of God who gather on Friday to prepare for the Holy Day. They were having a good time with genuine affection born of long shared life and commitment. I wandered about chatting with first one and then another

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Ministry is easy, if you are willing to have your heart broken

He pushed open the door and entered the Tower Room just as the deacon gave us our marching orders, ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lordt.” He was tall, black and very handsome.  Neat is the word that summed him up. From the top of his head adorned with a braided Mohawk to the well maintained shoes, he was impeccable.  Where had I seen this look before?

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