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Monday, April 2, 2012

The Way

Palm Sunday
Isaiah 50:4-9a, Mark 14:1 – 15:47

So many words.
So many emotions.
So much happening.
So overwhelming.

Palm Sunday inundates us in every respect, taking us on a roller coaster of people, places, and events, certainly more than any other Sunday. The temptation for me every year is simply to shut down, to make sense of it by only allowing in a tiny sliver--whatever happens to grab me at the moment--and insulating myself from intensity and the demands of the rest.

Maybe that's why our reading from Isaiah was like a jerk on my chain: "Morning by morning he wakens--wakens my ear to listen...the Lord God has opened my ear." I'm pulled back, reminded that if I'm going to try to figure out this whole follower of Jesus stuff, I don't get to pick and choose. Somehow, God directs me to listen to it all, including--maybe especially--the parts that are hard for me. In reading, in marking, in learning, in inwardly digesting the truth of what Jesus has done for us, I'm shown the model of the kind of love I'm called to show to others.

Make no mistake, none of us is the Messiah, and none of us is going to get it right the way he did. Jesus has already done the job of saving us, which takes a lot of pressure off us. But we can follow, we can imitate, we can try...because God opens our ears to God's call and God's way.

It's a way of celebration, of rejoicing in the often hidden but very real reign of a King who has already come among us. It's a way of sorrow, a deep sadness over a world that has gone so far astray from our Creator's loving intent for us. It's a way of nurture, being fed by Christ himself and then going forth in that strength to feed others. It's a lonely way, in which we're called to continue on our path even when others don't understand us or mock us. It is a way of humility, in which the heart of a servant matters more than public acclaim. It's a way of despair, when we can feel like God has abandoned us, even as we try to trust that God is only silent, not absent. It is a way of death, as we learn to let go of everything in this world that pretends to have power, including the illusion that we are ultimately in control of our life. It's more than all that, too...but today, we don't get that part of the story.

Our ears have been opened; will we listen?


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