This Sunday at BLC

March 25, 2018 – Palm/Passion Sunday

Today marks the beginning of Holy Week in the Christian year, the time when we remember Jesus’ journey from his celebrated entry into Jerusalem, to his death on a cross, to his glorious resurrection from death.  This is the week that defines our faith.

From the opening words of Mark’s gospel, which we hear today, the writer calls this gospel “good news.”  Yet there is little about this story that sounds like good news to our ears.  How is betrayal good news?  How is denial good news?  How is crucifixion good news?

It’s not . . . except for one thing.  We believe that despite all appearances to the contrary, God is most fully at work in the world in this very story.  God is fully present in Jesus’ anointing at Bethany, fully present in Jesus’ final meal with his disciples, fully present in Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane, fully present in Jesus’ arrest and trial, fully present as Jesus’ broken body is raised on a cross, fully present as soldiers mock Jesus, fully present as Jesus’ body is buried.

In this story the barriers between heaven and earth are ripped apart and in Jesus Christ the living God becomes at-one with all creation.

The writer Madeleine L’Engle helps me to understand why this story matters.  She writes, “we can withdraw, even in our prayers, from the intensity of suffering.  Jesus, on the cross, experienced it all.”

That is why we return to this story year after year.  This story is good news because it reminds us again and again that since God is present in this story, there is no place in our life or in our world, where God in Christ Jesus is not present.  No place.  Not one.

Today we begin this journey with the procession with palms and a new way of experiencing the passion narrative from Mark’s gospel.  It will continue on Thursday as we hear again Jesus’ commandment to love one another, and on Friday as we gather in the fading light to hear the story of Christ’s passion from John’s gospel.  In the coming days we invite you to listen again to this good news and believe what this story tells us: Jesus is at-one with you.

~ Pastor Amy