Clearly, this is not what we planned..........

RAMBLING RECTOR

Thank you to those who came back to me with comments and stories about the rose called “Rambling Rector”, including those who say they have this plant in their garden.

It is the title I’ve chosen for my Sunday reflections during these troubled times. In the coming weeks, when we cannot meet in the church building I plan to offer you a short reflection each week, stemming (excuse the pun) from the impressions and inspiration I am discovering. It is my prayer that we all discover God more deeply in this time while we are ‘Together While Apart’.

 

 

PALM SUNDAY, HOLY WEEK, EASTER

 

Clearly, this is not what we planned, yet here we are in the week before Easter Day, uncertain what the future will hold for any of us, not sure how long it might be before we meet again in our church buildings to celebrate communion together. But God works through the unexpected and so we are open to finding new meaning, and new connections in these days.

 

Today, we reflect together on the events of Palm Sunday and as you read the Gospel of Matthew chapter 21 verses 1 to 11, imagine yourself in the scene, as you are jostled by the crowd, as you hear the cheers and shouts around you. Jesus was putting on a good show as he rode into the city of Jerusalem - and the crowds loved it. But there is a darker side to this Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem. You might also say that it seemed like Jesus was looking for trouble.

 

At this time Jerusalem would have been full of both Jewish pilgrims and Roman soldiers. It was the time of a great Jewish religious festival known as Passover. But because Jerusalem had been taken over by the Roman soldiers, it was also a time of political tension. The authorities were edgy, nervous. They were worried that there would be a popular uprising against them. They were ready to stamp out any trouble. Jesus rides straight into that! And it was not going to end well for him... He will be betrayed by someone who had been his friend. He will be arrested, will go through an unfair trial, and will be sentenced to death, nailed to a cross made of wood.

 

It is always tempting at this point to rush toward the resurrection, to say “Yes, Jesus was arrested and beaten and eventually killed, but God raised him from the dead and it’s all OK.”  And of course, our haste is understandable. The cross is not exactly a pleasant thing to contemplate. But the scriptures challenge us to pause for a moment, to take time to consider the days leading to his arrest and crucifixion. He reminds us that his death was no accident, but rather something provoked by his message of love and inclusion and justice. He reminds us that the Kingdom entered history not only in his resurrection, but also as he remained faithful through those events of the first ‘Holy Week’ even as he was arrested and lied about and beaten and crucified.

 

He invites us this week to join him as he enters Jerusalem, to think about what it meant for him to face suffering, and to die. And to reflect on how, through those terrible events, he draws us towards the final outcome of his victory against death and hatred and despair.


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