SERMONS

Palm/Passion Sunday can be jarring, jolting even as we move quickly from joining the crowds cheering Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem to joining the crowds crying “crucify him, crucify him!”

Yet perhaps the rollercoaster of Palm/Passion Sunday reflects the sometimes roller coaster of our lives? From highs to lows, good times to bad, from having every hope to being discovered by the depths of suffering.

What we believe, my friends, is quite easy for anyone who looks at us to see. In fact, it may be uncomfortably easy for people to see what we believe by looking at our actions and choices as individuals and communities to know if love is our guide, or if anger and hatred have infected our stride.

Some of us have perhaps heard about Jesus cleansing the temple at Jerusalem - today’s Gospel story - as being the necessary work of Jesus to clear out the corruption that invaded the temple system.

Certainly corruption is an evil leach that seeks to attach itself to any and all human institutions, including religious institutions. And certainly God in Jesus Christ took a plunge into the grave as part of purging not only individual sin, but to cleanse the stain of sin from the places where our best efforts have not kept those lesions from infesting our institutions, thereby too often divesting them from their Godly and humanitarian intentions and leaving them hollow husks that do less to serve and more to hurt those they are intended to help.

These are uncomfortable times in which we are living. There are tragic mass shootings at concerts and schools and churches that leave people mourning and which raise questions about guns and safety that make people uncomfortable. There is the revealing of racism lurking in the underbelly of our nation and our communities, like a poison in the veins of an otherwise healthy person, that makes us uncomfortable – or at least it should. There is a rollercoaster economy over the last several decades in this country that has left the wealthy wealthier and further marginalized the poorest of the poor – and this is an uncomfortable truth.

There is a fever rising in our nation and in our world. It is a fever causing good people turning on good people. We are seeing fear and war-mongering preached where cooperation and consideration once roamed alongside idealism and optimism. We are seeing the almighty dollar placed in priority above decisions that could decisively help the least among us in society and the world. We are seeing some who would purvey hatred in the guise of reasonable rhetoric.

But we labor on.