And So It Begins

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Gate Pa – Palm Sunday 2015
Readings:
Psalm                                    Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29                                                
First Reading:                  Isaiah 50:4-
Second Reading:            Philippians 2:5-11  
Gospel:                                 Mark 11:1-11                                                                                        

What I want to say:
I want to help people enter into this story to hear the invitation to let go of our preconceptions, and hear the invitation to engage with the story and God in a new way

What I want to happen:
Who is Jesus? Let go of our stereotypes and engage with the one presented in the gospels

The Sermon

     1.     Introduction:

And so it begins  
the beginning of the end
Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem
as a small crowd gathers wave palms shout hosannas
big enough be remembered
but small
small enough to escape the notice of Rome
This is a different crowd from Friday
            those are haters
this crowd mostly disappear into the mass thronging into Jerusalem
and all seems to be going well
this crowd long for overthrow of Rome
look day temple rid of those corrupt high priests
            collusion with Rome
            all their profit making from others poverty

     2.     A Psalm of Hope

So sing Song of Ascents
            looks back first Passover
            God killed first born Egyptians
            liberated people God from slavery
                        also holds sense God’s will is not yet done on earth
            “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord
            Hosanna in the highest”
ð so many ancient hopes bound up in this man
ð so many new hopes of land restored
o   of peace returned
o   of justice at last in land justice for poor seems so far away

     3.     First Impressions

All seems to so well
            not stopped
goes into temple
             will return next day to drive out money makers
            there is a thin line between offering a necessary service and profiteering
                        they have crossed it
this will be where revolution will start in years to come
when temple guard will kill high priests and families and with crowd overthrow Roman stronghold  

     4.     We join in

So today we join in this procession
only we, like the gospel writers and their hearers
             know where this is really heading
Rome will stay for many years yet
Chief Priests are going nowhere
we are heading to Golgotha
            to the cross
                        where all those hopes die a gasping, lingering death
                        where all we understood about God and salvation is nailed to a cross
                        declared meaningless
                        irrelevant
            left hanging
            to die
What is left of all we carry with us in the parade today?

     5.     Making sense of it all

Like Mark and other gospel writers
we are on other side trying to make sense of it all
and still so confused
            we Christians do so much hating in the name of this one riding this donkey
            we are still with that crowd blinded by our own hopes,
                        aspirations,
                        old theology
you have to wonder
            when will we put these palms down

     6.     Today is the beginning of the end

Today is the beginning of the end
where invited to let go of preconceptions about     
            God
            salvation
            life in God
today is beginning of invitation to start again
            those first disciples started again
this time beginning with the one left hanging on cross
            who returns from tomb
the one who mingles his divinity with our humanity
the one who mingles his humanity with the Trinity
The one who reminds who God is,
            and who we are
todays story can be understood in many ways
            reckless gesture
            first step in necessary journey to cross
            expression of all hope for new way
there is hope here for oppressed
            but not as they understood
            often not as we see it
this is a story of justice – but lived out in a new way
not what lot people wanted or were expecting
            no crown,
            no throne
            no force
            no uprising
none of this is as people envisaged
this is a fresh beginning
not fatal ending
what are we being invited to let go of as we join this parade?
and as we turn our heads and glance at this Jesus who rides past us this morning
ask yourselves
who is this Jesus riding past
as you take note of the one riding this donkey
            rather than throng with all their loud distracting hopes and aspirations
who is he
who is God in him
who are we as we join him
walking towards Golgotha

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