1st Scripture Reading: Luke 19:28-40 & Psalm 118
By this time Jesus is famous. Crowds gather to hear his words and to experience healing. But he knows his time is rapidly coming to a close. Prophets have to die in Jerusalem he told his disciples, and he is going to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. Clearly, the more popular he becomes, the more influence he has, and the more dangerous he is to the establishment.
The path goes to Jerusalem, and from there to the cross. Dreadful expectation hangs heavily in the air. We know what happens to people who actively promote big change – change that challenges the status quo – change that threatens the powerful and the wealthy.
But Jesus does not hesitate. Those who speak truth to power usually have such strong inner conviction of the righteousness of what they are doing that they seem oblivious to personal danger.
Like Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott. Like Julian Assange. There will be massive push-back. Whistle-blowers the world over are persecuted, reputations destroyed, livelihood lost, even tortured to death or executed summarily.
Jesus situation is not unique in this. What is unique is the special status this story has held for over 2000 years. What is unique is the special place of Love in this story. Jesus died because he taught us that Divine love is the healing power that will make us whole, and bring us new life sheltered by that love. You see, when love is not the law, then something else is: personal greed, ambition, power, cruelty and injustice will likely hold sway.
We can see some of this in action in our own world today. Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have been ostracized. Wilson-Raybould’s reputation has been slandered and her political future is now uncertain. Julian Assange is facing extradition to the US where his “leaks” of information the powerful don’t want us to have make his future uncertain.
And to be clear, neither of these people is perfect – and neither have anywhere near the stature of Jesus the Christ. But his stature did not protect him from our very own human nature, did it? We don’t like change. We don’t like people to tell us the way we do things is wrong, or at least could be improved. People who do that are then different from us, and as such may be persecuted.
The Path of Love is fraught with danger, and no one knows it better than Jesus at this point in his journey. We who would follow him must be alert to our own demons of fear, anger, envy, and greed - and still determined to win thru to the prize. He is with us to strengthen and heal us if only we will look honestly at ourselves and ask for help when we need it.
We are never alone. God is with us. Thanks be to God.
Hymn #123 VU “Hosanna, loud hosanna”
2nd Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-8 & Luke 22: 14-27, 31-34, 47-54
“Love Riding On” by Janice MacLean (The Prayer Bench)
Hymn #90 MV “Don’t Be Afraid”