Midweek Musings

God is With Us

      Palm Sunday has always been a bit enigmatic for me. There’s this great parade on the outskirts of town, full of pomp and circumstance; but it doesn’t really go anywhere. And in all four versions of the story, Jesus doesn’t look anything like the political hero that is being welcomed into Jerusalem by his followers.

           Of course, we understand that now. Jesus wasn’t a political hero. He wasn’t the king many wanted. He was not entering Jerusalem for victory. He was entering the city preparing to face his fate. Maybe he knew what was coming; but clearly no one else did.

           It’s interesting to me that he let the parade unfold, even planning it in some measure by securing the animal to ride on. But Jesus had other intentions about what was going to happen next. It was not what anybody expected, not what any of his disciples signed up for. And as we read the Passion Story we see how devastated his followers became, how they left his side, betrayed, denied, abandoned him.

           Still, Jesus continued. And even though we hear him ask where God was at the time of crucifixion, we believe that eventually he knew that God was with him. And Jesus carried on.

           It is not always easy to believe that God is there when everything else speaks to the contrary. It takes courage to believe that God shows up. And yet, this belief is the very essence of faith. It enables us to face all the hard things, get through the difficulties, keep fighting for justice, listening for the truth. We are able to keep living lives of service and faith by believing that somehow, some way, God always shows up.       

           John Vannorsdall, former President of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, wrote:

“Palm Sunday is not a day when we throw up our hands because Jesus was killed. It’s not a day of pessimism when we condemn the people who went home to supper, the crowds which later became ugly. It’s not a day when we get morose over the money changers in the temple and declare that nothing ever turns out well, that even God’s small parade was a fiasco. Palm Sunday, rather, is a day when we say, knowing all of this, knowing that people are fickle, get tired of parades and go home, knowing that religious leaders like things neat and tidy and kill reformers, knowing that the humble truth teller is walked upon, knowing that people will sell their souls for a handful of silver, knowing that even good friends will sleep when we suffer, it’s a day when knowing all this, Jesus came riding.”

           May you know the presence of God as you move through these next few days remembering the Passion of Christ. May you bear with confidence that even as it may not seem so, God is with you, God is here.

           You are the Light of the world!

A Good Friday Walk of the Cross is planned for Good Friday, April 15, 2022 at the Norbertine Abbey, Albuquerque, NM. For more information, click on the NMCC website: www.nmchurches.org.