Sermon Passion Sunday April 14, 2019

April 15, 2019 @ 4:25 am – 5:25 am

At the Procession Luke 19:28-40 Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
At the Eucharist Isaiah 50:4-9a Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11 Luke 23:1-49
May these words and our thoughts be acceptable to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Because of our Faith we often curse those people who cried out “Crucify Him !” To us it is totally wrong to call for the execution of Jesus, a prophet, a healer, a peacemaker, the Son of God. Why would anyone do such a thing ? After all these same people had only a few days before raved in the streets shouting “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord ! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven !” What had gone wrong in these few days ? What had upset the applecart ? Well the Jewish authorities had called Jesus an heretic, and the Romans thought it best to keep the crowd quiet by getting rid of the source of the crowd’s anger, so they acceded to the request of the chief priests, the elders, the crowd, and they crucified Jesus.
The people of course knew that Jesus was a holy man and that he had done a lot of good for them, but their burning desire was to get rid of the Romans, and Jesus didn’t seem to measure up; He was all for turning the other cheek, not making war. But there was this guy Barabbas, who was a fighter. He had opposed the Romans with force. So given the choice, one or the other, they went for the one with the best chance of defeating Rome. It was a long shot to be sure, many insurrections against Rome had taken place and not much success had been gained, in fact, they had all been defeated. But a drowning man will grab at a straw, which is what they did. We don’t know what happened to Barabbas but he never achieved the people’s hope for him.
There is a great temptation for us to latch onto people who promise us a lot, today. Politicians are the first in this category. They will set out their platform of a balanced budget, tax cuts, full employment, good healthcare and education, environmental action, and we will believe them, because all of those things are important to us today. If a party published a platform that said taxes were going to increase to pay down our crippling debt and to take tough action on pollution, which will include less consumption and restrictions on many of the conveniences we have, along with more support for those truly disadvantaged, and those who need a helping hand-up, they wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance of being chosen. Nor did Jesus !
There is a great temptation for us to believe people who tell us that they have the only thing that will answer our need, whatever that need is, those who tell us that if we rub some expensive goop into our skin all our wrinkles will disappear. Cod’s wallop, it’s snake oil ! Check in the mirror those old wrinkles will still be there, in a week, in a month, in a year. And so what ! You earned every last one of them. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when it’s God who beholds, what does any other beholder matter ? Not a wit. You are what you are, a beautiful child of God, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
We can also get wrongly persuaded by those who wish to pit one against another. Look for the Truth, don’t be swayed by the propaganda of extremists, they are the ones who shout “Crucify Him !”
In this world where there is a lot of ‘me first’ attitude, the Christian message of loving God and loving your neighbour as yourself is a message that is as hard to get across today, as it was for Jesus. People do not appear to be in it for the long term, ‘right now’ is when people want answers.
Well they can get them. Following the example and teaching of Jesus Christ will answer your questions of today. The first thing you get is peace of mind. Trusting God takes away all the nervousness about tomorrow. You can actually take care of your own interests better if you look at life through the lens that Jesus offers. As selfishness disappears, your debts decrease and your assets increase, that’s where peace of mind comes from, and it’s easier to look at the circumstances of others. That is immediately accompanied by a loss of guilt feelings. And at last you realise that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit. That is immediately accompanied by you taking care of yourself better, organising your day better, getting enough rest which is such a scarce commodity today. It all lies in how we approach life, what and who we believe.
It’s easy to shout “Crucify Him !” when you are not paying attention to what is really worthwhile. And it’s almost as bad to just stand-by and watch, and then when you see things have gone all wrong, go home, beating your breast and bewailing the injustice, Were those, who just a few hours before were shouting “Crucify Him !”, among those now in remorse; probably. One of the lessons we can draw from today is that at least one person has to speak-up against the injustice. That might as well be you, or me, as anyone else, because it’s obvious that you can’t rely on others to do the right thing. Time and again I have kicked myself for not being smart enough to understand what was going on, and what was right and what was wrong, until it was too late. Have you ? I might have been in that crowd. And yet again, I may have been one of those just standing-by, just waiting to see what happened. What would you have done ? Be honest think about it. With an angry crowd, an army, the civil authorities all saying one thing, where would you be ? Think about it.
We can’t undo time. We can’t do over the past. But we can do tomorrow right. Whether it’s a family matter, a societal matter, a religious matter, or something that exclusively is about you, don’t be amongst those who shout ‘Crucify Him’. Amen.

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