Fearing the Truth

Let us pray: Holy God, we meet yet again on this Lord’s Day to hear the word spoken and listen for the Spirit’s leading. You who walked the Jerusalem Road one day with lepers and on another day rode into Jerusalem on a donkey like royalty with children shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David;” guide all our hearts and lead us in the way of life everlasting. Amen.

Veronice Miles, writing in the lectionary based commentary “Feasting on the Word,” penned these words:

“In today’s Lenten narrative, those who orchestrated Jesus’ death were so preoccupied with power and fearful of change that they missed the possibility of a world in which love and compassion could become a reality.” [1]

Wendell Berry, in his novel Jayber Crow, has his main character of the same name speak the often fearfully heretical words we all wonder about and don’t always have an answer to:

“Christ did not descend from the cross except into the grave. And why not otherwise? Wouldn’t it have put fine comical expressions on the faces of the scribes and the chief priests and the soldiers if at that moment he had come down in power and glory? Why didn’t he do it?   Why hasn’t he done it at any one of a thousand good times between then and now?

He didn’t, he hasn’t, because the moment he did, he would be the absolute tyrant of the world and we would be his slaves. Even those who hated him and hated one another and hated their own souls would have to believe in him then. From that moment the possibility that we might be bound to him and he to us and us to one another by love forever would be ended (emphasis added).”[2] 

He didn’t come down off that cross to set the course of history in a direction that would have avoided suffering through the many wars and tyrants that have lived on, in and through humankind since. Jesus Christ did not come down off the cross in power and glory to take over the world and fix its problems. Instead, we celebrate his surrender to the will of love-which is also, for us, the freedom to choose to set our own course in following the royal law to love your neighbor as yourself. And that is what we celebrate this Passion Sunday.

In response to this great love that has been poured out on us, we are Called. Being Called, we then may choose to greatly love in return. How do we do we show this love? Again in the words of Veronice Miles,

“We must remain vigilant in the work of the ministry, engaging in ethical praxes that embody love of God, self, and neighbor as a testament to the crucified One. For the crucifixion is not simply an event to be mourned or an entrée to the resurrection, but a reminder of the malevolence that ensues when faithful persons forget to remember that we stand with the One who has come in the name of the Lord.” [3]

In truth, we are the hands and feet of Christ in the world today. Consider how you might be Jesus to someone close to you – or even distant – this week. The Church is Christ’s body, and as such, each of us is called to be Christ: one to one another, to the strangers in our midst, and yes, even unto our very selves.

May all glory be unto the one who lived, died, and rose again for us, even Him who was, who is, and ever shall be Christ for us. Amen? May it be so.

Endnotes

[1] Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary – Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide.

[2] Taken from Bread and Wine Readings for Lent and Easter – Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY 2003

[3] Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary – Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide

About Scottrick

Parent ~ Pastor ~ Poet ~ Author
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