I thought it would be a shame if this Christian blog did not have a post for Palm Sunday, as I noticed we didn’t this morning. And so I will do a hasty one, drawing on our collective beliefs. The one I have selected is one of Chalcedon’s from Palm Sunday in 2015. My comment on it makes a fair introduction, I think. This was my comment:
“My thinking parallels yours.The sacrifice, of course, hearkens back to the Temple but it echoes down in that far further. If an act, it echoes back to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son, Isaac to God, and God’s message to him that he will provide the sacrifice, a ram, instead.
The quote in Lutheranism’s general confession is:
“We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone”
The English isn’t as beautiful as the BCP but we have the meaning right, at least. And yes, at my age it is more often “what I have left undone”. Sort of sad, really, it was much more fun to confess what I had done. 🙂”
It will soon be Palm Sunday; Lent is coming to its appointed climax. In Sunday’s Gospel we get the first sign of a something which will become more prominent on Maundy Thursday – Jesus’ fear of what awaits him: ‘Father, save me from this hour’. He would have seen crucifixions; he knew what there was to fear. Crucifixion was intended to instil fear; it was brutal, bloody and fatal. Yet it was for ‘this hour’ that Jesus had come into the world. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us so that He might be raised up as the propitiation for our sins. He died for our sins.
There is this something against which our notions of justice rail. How, we ask, can it be right for an innocent man to die for the guilty?’ What sort of Father, we wonder, sacrifices his son for rogues such as ourselves. Of late I have found praying the Sorrowful Rosary next to impossible; the envisaging of what happened to Jesus unsettles my prayer, and it is only by thinking on what was to come that I get through. But, as St Isaac reminds us, this is an act of love. There were, he tells us, many ways God could have chosen to save us, and by choosing this one, he shows us the extent of His love; I think He also shows us the extent of our sins.
Soon, then, we shall be following the familiar story of the Passion of the Lord, Perhaps its familiarity robs it of its power for us, so we might want to spend more time meditating on it. Every stripe applied to His back is a sin of mine; that Crown of Thorns he bears, they are the sting of my sins; and high on that Cross on Calvary my sins are forgiven, and through Him I am saved from my sins.
But my sins are not banished. By this stage of my life, it is more a matter, in the words of the old Anglican General Confession, of the ‘things I have not done’ rather that the things I have done. That I am conscious of that is a sign of growth I think; but it is also a sign that the journey continues. Words sometimes darken discussion.
I also commented,
“And of course Julian of Norwich, who in her illness also witnessed the scene, reminds us:
Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us—a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching.
or so we pray in this, and all, seasons.”
My thoughts this day echo his when he ends, as I shall, “But the path to the Resurrection leads through Gethsemane and the hill at Golgotha; at times the Cross is too heavy to bear – and save for His presence would be so.”