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Palms and Passion

March 19, 2016

I haven’t put together my usual article today. You see I’m doing something radical tomorrow. I’m going to read the Bible (radical enough for most people) but then comes the radical bit, I’m going to stop there. I’m not going to add my bit, my teaching and understanding. I’m just going to let the story speak for itself.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and it sets the scene for Holy Week. Like so many congregations we’re going to hear the story of Jesus coming into Jerusalem, we’re going to bless palms and step on that road to the cross. Then in the worship we, together, will be reading a dramatised version of the story of Jesus from triumph to the cross (For a non-dramatic version see: Luke 23.14 to 24.end). We’re all going to be part of that story; then like those first followers of Jesus we’re going to stop there.

I hate stopping there. I know what comes next but I need to have some self-control (a fruit of the Spirit). I need to force myself to sit and weep with Mary and Peter and John and all the rest. I need to let the Spirit give me a taste of their growing fear, despair and hopelessness. I need to stop and take in the betrayal of Holy Week and the defeat of the Cross. I know, the cross is central to my faith as a symbol of hope, but only because of Easter, only because Jesus rose from the dead. So without Easter, the Cross is a defeat, a symbol of the triumph of evil over good.

So for a week I will stop myself from mentally flipping to the last page of the Book. I have found that it is only through experiencing a tiny bit of the pain and cost of God’s love that I can grasp at least something of the depth of that love for me every day. The power is far greater when I don’t rush.

So, I’ll sign off as I set off to join the apostles. Pray for me as I walk into that despair. You can take my hand if you like and come along, but don’t be too surprised if you see me cry; or when your tears come flooding too.

I’m going to end this article with a poem from Steve Turner from “Steve Turner – Poems“, published by Lion:

The Cast of Christmas Reassemble for Easter: 

Take the wise men to the Emperor’s palace.
Wash their hands in water.
Get them to say something about truth.
Does anyone know any good Jewish jokes?
The one about a carpenter
who thought he was a King?
The one about the Saviour
who couldn’t save himself?
The shepherds should stand with the chorus.
They have a big production number –
‘Barabbas, We Love You Baby’.
Mary? She can move to the front.
We have a special section reserved
for family and close friends.
Tell her that we had to cut the manger up.
We needed the wood for something else.
The star I’m afraid I can’t use.
There are no stars in this show.
The sky turns black with sorrow.
The earth shakes with terror.
Hold on to the frankincense.
We’ll need that for the garden scene.
Angels? He could do with some angels.
Avenging angels.
Merciful angels.
He could really do with some angels.
Baby Jesus.
Step this way please.
My! How you’ve grown!

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6 Comments
  1. Dianna permalink

    One can only imagine

  2. Had never read the poem but my ..!!! does it say it all!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Rambling Rose,

      Steve Turner is one of my favourite poets. He says things simply but very powerfully.

      God bless,

      Nigel.

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