The sixth Sunday of Lent is Palm Sunday. The Lord rides into Jerusalem. We will read the short version of this entry from Mark, but here is the longer one from Matthew:
When they had come near Jerusalem … Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey
The disciples brought the donkey and its foal… and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Matthew points out that the Lord is now doing what Zechariah said he would:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The Lord is at war, riding out to confront the malevolent forces arrayed against mankind. But this king is so confident in his victory that he does not ride a war horse but a much more peaceful animal.
Continue reading “Lent & Easter 5. Palm Sunday – Entry to Jerusalem”
The Passover was near and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He went into action on our behalf. He rode in to the rescue, to take us back out of the power of those who held us captive. John telescopes the whole incarnation and passion into the Passover and its celebration – The Passover is the event of the resurrection and our celebration of it.
The Gospel for the fourth week of Lent is John 3:
Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up… in order that the world might be saved through him
The Son of Man is lifted up. He is picked out from the crowd, selected from the whole assembly of Israel and indeed of the world. Of all these many millions, this one is the One. Having been picked by the selectors, he has been trialled and he has come through all the tests well, the Letter to the Hebrews tell us. He is confirmed and anointed. This is man in all his glory, given by God who intended it for him from the beginning. In this man, God has established the future for all men.
Continue reading “Lent & Easter 4. Lifted Up, Raised – and true Mothering”
We are on our way through Lent to Easter, looking at the Sunday readings and learning something about the public contribution of Christian witness. Though we are going through Lent, we already enjoy Easter. For only the power of Easter can take us through the long Lent we have to undergo.
In the first two talks we said that the Gospel brings the reconciliation that allows a national communion to develop. Without Christianity, there is no covenant between rich and poor, or between one tribe and another, and so there is no nation, and no basis for an international community of nations. The law makes us secular: secularity is the achievement of Christianity, not an escape from it. The Ten Commandments are our call to liberty and to communion. They call out of the savage all-against-all isolation of pagan society, and into civil life together. They give us such confidence that we are able to live with those who we do not know or do not like, so this confidence gives us this civility and this civilisation. Only Christian discipleship enables us to grow up towards the vast definition of humanity set out by the Gospel, towards maturity and holiness, made fit by God for life with him and with each other. Continue reading “Lent & Easter 3. Christ must suffer and be rejected”
We are under the covenant and so we settled. We are members of a robust and confident society, culture and nation. And we are on the move, following Abraham, who is following Christ. We alternate between being settled, and being nomads. In Lent and Passion week we are on the move, in file behind our Lord, and he is taking us with him through the very darkest places. Noah and Abraham, obedient to God’s call, stood up, left their communities and cultures and walked out into unknown, and so became the founders of a new society, Israel. We are amongst their heirs; we worship their God.
But why should we worship God? Or rather, why should we worship this God rather than some other? Continue reading “Lent & Easter 2. The Law, the Command and the Freedom”
We are on the way to Easter. We travel around the Christian year, each Sunday hearing a new reading from Scripture that tells us who we are, where we have come from, where we are going, what the obstacles are and what the hopes. This six-week season of Lent gives us so many Old Testament lessons, so many psalms, epistles and readings either from the Gospel of Mark or John. Here are some of the passages we will hear in the coming weeks. They come from the second year (B) of the three-year cycle of our Common Lectionary. Continue reading “Lent and Easter 1 The Covenant”