This Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday: The Sunday of the Passion. This service begins a Holy Week of observances that invite us on an imaginative journey with Jesus through the last days of life. We begin with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and gradually we witness the contamination of hatred that infects nearly everyone in the story. It is not until enduring the dark night of the soul through the time of trial and rejection that we can truly appreciate and appropriate the light of Easter.
As we celebrate these holy days and events, it is not merely to create an historical memory. Rather, we are mapping out an archetypal journey for one’s spiritual path. As we see our own lives stretched across the canvas of the grand story, we come to understand our own experience as having an arc of meaning and purpose. Through this sacred reflection, we come to understand our own sense of anger, our hopes dashed and reversed into prejudice and hatred. We see both our own victimhood as well as our role in victimizing others.
St. Paul says, if you have been buried with Christ, you will be raised with Christ. In these observances we both recognize our complicity in a violent world system and yet we are called from that world into a world based on the eternal presence of mercy, grace and forgiveness.
It takes a certain amount of dedication, spiritual struggle and hope to engage these profound stories in ways that impact our lives. First, our imaginations are awakened by the drama of the story. Second we find ourselves moved by powerful identifications with the various characters in the story; the doubters, the betrayers, the functionaries, the politicians, the judges, the crowds. Finally, we share the perspective with the archetypal victim, the scapegoat par excellence, the innocent one, rejected by all. Through his eyes we navigate the depths of our own personal and communal darkness. When this state is fully appropriated as our truth, we die with Christ and await rebirth, we passionately await our Easter!
Please join us this week. Make this week more than a ritual of memory. Rather come with the expectation that you will lose something of yourself, something you thought was necessary and then find something of the Divine that will delight and inspire your life anew.