Palm Sunday Year A
April 9, 2017
“Walk with me”
From the beginning of time, words have formed life.
In Genesis, for example, naming the plants and animals in the Garden of Eden brought them into being.
Organized groups of people formed common languages built around words, and the world’s civilizations were born.
“Words make worlds,” Krista Tippett, says. And it’s true.
Our words knit us together . . . connect us to one another. And we, modern people, very much like our words.
But today, I am going to go out on a limb and say some words you’ve probably never heard a preacher say before . . . and that is, today, after I step out of this pulpit, I don’t want you to remember a single word I’ve said. Got it? Not one single word.
Because this week, this Holy Week, is not about words. This Holy Week is about experience. And rather than remember or ruminate or rely on words, I’m simply asking that you walk with me. Walk with each other. Walk with Jesus . . . through his agony in the garden of Gethsemane . . . through his betrayal and abandonment by his disciples . . . through his trial and torture . . . and through his death on the cross.
You see, lately, here at St. Paul’s, it seems like we’ve been talking our way through death an awful lot. Death has been our almost constant companion during these first few months of this year. And I have spoken plenty of words about it - too many words, frankly - about green pastures and still waters, about darkness and light, about eternal life . . . about vulnerability and the Divine Way. I’m done talking about it.
So as we walk together, this week, toward Jesus’ death on the cross, words will fall away. In their place other things will speak. These palms. The candlelight. The smell of lavender. The warm clean water and soft towels. The hushed chanted psalms. The bread. The wine. The darkness. The silence.
But most of all, God will speak to us through Jesus.
Jesus, a Messiah who emptied himself and became human like us, and for us. A king. Not one who builds boundaries, but who draws the circle wider. Not one who builds himself up, but instead empties himself. Not one who rides in with power and protection to assume control, but who is vulnerable, and proclaims a kingdom where the lowly are lifted up, where the meek are the inheritors, where the sorrowful are consoled. Jesus, our king, washes our feet, embraces vulnerability and weakness, draws us to himself, and beckons us with his pure and perfect, and sacrificial love.
This Holy Week is about experience. Your experience. My experience. Jesus’ experience. It’s ours to experience – together. Walk with me. Amen.