Posts Tagged ‘sermons’

Palm Sunday

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

We’ve all lived through times when a leader – whether it be a political leader, sportsperson, or some other public figure – has been elevated to the status of saviour. And we have experienced when the media – in this case merely the mouthpiece for the collective consciousness – has cast such people down once it became clear that they too were subject to the same compromises and disappointments that we all have to cope with.
In our own lives we might know such moments too – when we encounter a new friend, or a direction of learning, or even a book – and we are seized by hope that it will make everything different. And later we know the bitterness that comes when we realize that this didn’t happen.
What we hope for in such moments is that something or someone will change reality for us, relieving us of the responsibility of changing it ourselves. And the bitterness that follows comes when this hope dies.
The Week of Weeks – the Holy Week – starts with the ecstatic acclamation by the crowd. Is it the same crowd that shouts on Good Friday “crucify him”? Their hope on Palm Sunday must have been for the national deliverer who would cast off the hated Roman yoke. Underlying this was the assumption that the Romans were responsible for their reality. But there was more they must have hoped for – after all, the religious authorities were compromised and perhaps corrupt – so they needed changing too. And then perhaps they wished that they would be changed, so that they wouldn’t have to struggle to be honest, to be kind to their children, to notice where their love was needed and where love was offered to them. How wonderful to be made perfect and released from the burden of being limited – of being human!
Christ rides in silence through the ecstatic crowd on Palm Sunday, just as he will stand silent on Good Friday. He shows where true leadership begins – in self-leadership, unswayed by acclamation, undeterred by opposition. Does Pilate have an inkling of that when he says “behold the man!”? – does he see the future human being, who has found the inner principle of leadership, the Christ-filled ego?
The hope for a different reality has to die before new hope can be born in the soul. This is hope not to be liberated from reality by an external leader, but to find the strength in myself to transform reality from within.