Today is PALM SUNDAY for the Christian Faithful – usually a day set aside for pageantry and Pomp, recognizing the story of Jesus’s triumphant entry into the Holy City at the beginning of Passover, setting off a week of dramatic events that lead to his trial, crucifixion and death.
You’ve heard of it right? Jesus strolls into town during a major holiday celebration and causes a big screen! He gets arrested and by the time the whole thing hits a climax the very people who cheered him upon entrance to the city – call out for his execution.
It may seem strange to jump into a story at this stage, especially as New Thought people. But I love a good story!
And, it may seem extra strange this year, because hardly anything about our world seems triumphant right now….but lean in with me for a moment…
A good story – any good story always has:
a middle, and
And in our Hollywood based world often they will have a sequel, and a prequel or 2 or 3.
Well it turns out the Israelites are really good story tellers and they have been doing it for a really long time.
Palm Sunday is the Christian Prequel to Easter (which is one of the most metaphysical stories you’ll ever encounter), and the sequel to Passover in this arrangement, but to create context we need to begin our journey at the prequel to Passover Celebration – we need to go to the origins of Passover itself.
The Name Passover comes from an ancient story of the Israelites liberation from Captivity – as a people they were on a journey of liberation, led by the star character in the plot, Moses – who pleas with Pharaoh to release his people.
When Pharaoh refuses God unleashes 10 plagues on the land… the Nile River turns Red, people get boils, livestock die, Locust swarm…. it gets real bad! And all culminating in an avenging angel who sets out to kill the First born son of every house. Yikes.
So, Israelites paint their door frames with lambs blood – in hopes that the angel will pass over them and move on to the next house.
Now, there is no indication that Israelites suffered 10 sequential plagues – but we can gather that things got real bad.
Everyone was on a stay@home / Shelter in Place orders & everyone was praying that the latest plague did not visit their house.
Can you imagine?
This is the beginning of the story and it happens to be right where we are right now. Its not a pleasant part to dwell on. There is lots of terrible news and circumstances during this period.
But the fact that it is the beginning of the story is where our Good News & hope begins. For what we know from the fact that it is the beginning is that it is not the END.
This too shall pass. We will get beyond this period.
But as hopeful and reassuring as that is, I urge you to be fully present to this point of the story.
Lament. Feel. BE with what is! don’t rush the process.
I want to encourage you, if you feel heavy from everything that is going on – then FEEL it, if you are enjoying your spare time -then enjoy it.
If you are angry, be angry.
BE RIGHT where you are – because wherever that is – it is the beginning of a longer journey of liberation.
The Power of lamentation (to morn the loss) cannot and should not be overlooked.
Grieving is necessary to the cleansing of the Soul and we need a national cleansing.
This is why we tell stories – to remember and to pull us through.
Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end.
In many ways we are at the end of an old, tired and long story. The story of a world that is broken, corrupt, a world lost – blinded by global expansion, bloated consumerism, environmental degradation and political corruption.
Evey ending contains a new beginning- in many ways we are in the early turbulent days of a new beginning.
Like the Caterpillar at the end of its massive feasting stage – fat and tired it cocoons on a branch and begins to eat itself. Soon, imaginal cells will appear. Cells that contain the DNA of the butterfly – but right now its a big toxic and gooey mess!
The Israelites get on the other side of this season of plagues – and we will too.
Fast forward now to the middle of the story – the Celebration known as Passover.
To understand the importance of Passover I want you to imagine the stories we will tell our children & grandchildren about this Covid-19 season.
How will we honor the lives that we have lost? How will we remember the empty shelves, the distancing from our friends, neighbors and spiritual family?
Suppose we take a week:
– in the beginning everyone must remain at home and eat whatever they have on hand, no one can go to work, or socialize with others.
At the end of the week: we gather for a special meal.
it contains something bitter to morn the dead and remember the hardships that many endured.
it contains bread to remember the empty shelves.
most importantly it is a community meal shared among friends to celebrate the Blessing of being together.
and as we gather we collect toilet paper and other essentials to donate to shelters.
If you can imagine having such a meal / gathering in the not too distant future, then you understand Passover. It was a celebration who’s purpose was to remember the hardships of the past and that God, faith and community brought them through.
But why would Jesus (remember him?) want to crash this party and cause a big scene?
Because even seemingly liberated people can let their guard down and fall back into a position of abdicating their true power.
(this happens when you don’t do the work to understand you Freedom and liberated state of mind.)
So, how do you know if you’ve done you work?
1. you never stop seeking to understand your relationship to the power that is greater than you are.
2. you help liberate others
When we forget that we are free – we surrender on power to outside forces.
This is the context that Jesus finds his people in.
He find a people who are trapped in oppressive structures seek liberation, Saviors, kings, leaders – anyone to RESCUE them make things better.
Of course the problem is we fall for false promises and look to the wrong people to save us. And this is the state that the Jewish people are in during Jesus time.
They are aware that there is a problem – but they think another leader (political) will fix it.
Jesus (remember him?) says; I have to do something too get through to folks – I’ve been teaching about the power within, the healing power found in having a direct relationship with the Father, but they don’t seem to get it. Meanwhile the authorities are on to him, they don’t like the crowds and stir that he causes everywhere he goes. They are out to get him, and he knows it.
And so he plans his entrance – filled with political subversive tones meant to provoke the religious and civic authorities, cause a scene and get attention.
He rides on in a donkey – because he knows that Harod will have a military might parade and stroll through town high on a horse. The people cheer and they think that he is going to really give it to the authorities and fix all the corruption.
This is where today’s story ends and next week’s begins.
Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
And because time is just a construct of our consciousness-they are all happening simultaneously.
We are in just the beginning of a difficult chapter ,
the middle of a transformation, and
the end of an old story.
This week invite in the triumphant return of the Christ – l AM presence – who was always waiting just outside the walls of your consciousness-welcome the presence in and let it remind you of who you really are.
Peace and Blessings
Rev. Dr. David Alexander
Palm Sunday, 2020