SERMON FOR APRIL 13, 2014
PALM SUNDAY, YEAR A
Nativity, Bloomfield Township
READINGS: Isaiah 50:4-9a
Matthew 26:36 – 27:54
MAY THE WORDS OF OUR SACRED WRITINGS BE A LAMP UNTO OUR FEET, AND LEAD US ONTO PATHS OF JUSTICE, LOVE, AND MERCY. AMEN.
Thursday morning I was driving to a clergy meeting and listening to the BBC on NPR Radio. The newscaster was reporting on the Egyptian trial of three al-Jazeera journalists who are charged with spreading false news and aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement. Amnesty International has condemned the prosecution of these three as a “vindictive farce.” The newscaster reported the three men were screaming out their innocence from their mesh-covered cages in the court room.
Now, one of the first things we do at our clergy meetings is a 30 to 45 minute study of the upcoming Sunday’s gospel reading. As we read over the gospel three times, I was struck at how different Jesus’ behavior was compared to the journalists on trial in Egypt. After his anguished prayer in the garden, Jesus appeared to be centered and grounded as Judas and the soldiers approached him. It was as if he accepted he had no control over the matter. He could only watch and experience the events as they unfolded. He had little to say during his trumped-up trial and condemnation, so unlike the screaming journalists in their cages.
During the check-in time of our meeting, one of our colleagues shared her husband’s aggressive cancer had returned after only four months of remission. Her 93-year-old mother, who lives with them, has dementia that is worsening. Their adult daughter who earned her second DUI and lost her license and her job had moved back home with all her “stuff.” Adding to this mix all the Lenten activities and preparation for Holy Week and Easter, the priest described her life as an ongoing cyclone over which she has no control. She explained she could only stay centered in her belief Jesus was walking with her through this storm and watch how everything was going to unfold.
I suggest in today’s passion reading, Jesus modeled for us one way we can handle some of the challenges life throws at us. We can react like the al-Jazeer prisoners, lashing out and trying to control what’s happening… or we can accept we just might have no control in the situation and trust we have someone greater than we are walking with us. We can quiet ourselves, we can pray for courage and wisdom, and we can watch how things unfold. Amen.
The Rev. Diane E. Morgan
Resources used for this sermon:
Retrieved from the Internet 4/11/2014.