From Fractured…

Sunday, March 24

3-24By David Brock, presiding evangelist 

As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

—Luke 19:36–38

Today is Palm Sunday. It is the day of the first Christian parade! The grand marshal rides into the capital city along a crowd-lined street, and there is excitement! No majestic steed—just a donkey. The leader and his team are a ragtag bunch, but emotions are high. The adulation is overflowing. Tunics are laid before Jesus and the donkey, palm branches are waving in joy, and praise songs, chants, and shouts liberally pour over him as he passes.

The rabbi, the teacher, the healer, the forgiver, the preacher, the Lord, the one in whose presence people clamor to be. They know the authority in his voice, his touch, his eyes. He comes to their town and he just might be the savior they’ve been waiting for. Today is the day when our children parade down a pew-lined aisle in costumes, waving branches, shouting “Hosanna,” and we celebrate them in their little ragtag production. It is festive and fun, and there is a hint of Easter hope in our jubilation. It is good!

Today is Palm Sunday. And though I can and do celebrate, I can’t get away from…I can’t put out of my thoughts…what happens at the end of the parade route. It is Passion Week. The most excruciatingly painful experiences and truths lie just ahead of Jesus, there in the capital city. And just ahead of us here, there is all the denial, betrayal, failure of nerve, scapegoating, and violence perpetrated by one human on another.

We cannot turn away from the physical suffering. We face the terrible fact of the ever-so-thin veneer of civility and conviction that quickly disappears when our own hopes disappear. We face a committed, “I’ll stand by your side until death do us part” disciple, who denies he ever knew the one he once defended. The adulation quickly shifts to chants of “crucify him!” and causes me to feel fractured on Palm Sunday.

Prayer for Peace
Eternal Presence, be with us on our path from the mountain. May we understand the pain and suffering you endured, the love that made it so. May we share your love and Christ’s peace with all who are burdened.

Spiritual Practice: Chalice Prayer
The chalice prayer is a form of intercession. Create a cup or chalice with your hands in front of your heart. Open your heart to God’s concern for the Earth and human family as you hold them in your chalice. See beauty and suffering as you lift the chalice and release the creation (open hands) to be blessed and healed by God. Place yourself inside the chalice as you confess your deepest needs. Lift and release yourself to God for healing. “Thank you and amen.”

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will not deny your truth by my actions.

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