This Sunday, Palm Sunday, is the beginning of Holy Week. The liturgical year began with Advent and the birth of Jesus. One would think that its culmination would be in the death of Jesus after a full year. However, our tradition places that event in the middle of the year signifying that death is not the end. I’m not suggesting that we skip the Passion and jump to Easter. Rather, as with Jesus’ Triumphal Entry, death and heartbreak can come at any time, even in the midst of victory. Perhaps it must.
Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is a bittersweet affair. There is adulation and celebration from the huge crowds that gather around. Jesus feels it. He understands what is happening as a part of the nature of things, even the stones of the earth cry out. But he also knows the other part of nature: his must die because of the sin in the world.
This is an act of defiance against the power of his world. It fulfills Jewish understanding of Scriptures about the Messiah, the Anointed One of God. It mocks the procession of Roman military might taking place at the same time on the other side of town. This is the beginning of a series of provocations that can end in no other way than his death.
If there is to be more of a story, we have to deal with this part. Suffering and death will come. We can’t avoid it; we can’t run away; we can’t buy it off. What we can do is celebrate what should be celebrated and mourn what should be mourned. Suffering and death are redeemed by being present, seeing them for what they are, and by trying, whenever we can, to make them for something. The Christian story is a long one that stretches beyond the grave because it is a story of redemption. It is a story that ultimately ends in justice, health, and peace. Like Jesus, we are anointed by God to a particular destiny: to work toward that end, no matter the cost. Redemption does not take away this part of the story, but suffering and death is not the whole story.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we celebrate and mourn.
There will be no Wednesday dinner this week. Instead, we will have a brief Maundy Thursday service and meal and then watch Jesus of Montreal. We’ll start at 7pm at the Shirleys’, 221 S. Edgefield Ave. For Good Friday, we are not doing anything formal. However, there are many, many opportunities in Dallas, including the Dallas Area Christian Progressive Alliance’s Good Friday Walk. This year, the walk is dedicated to all the children who have been lost to gun violence. It will begin at 10am at Young and Harwood in front of First Presbyterian Church.
After our Easter service, we will have a picnic at Kidd Springs as well as an Easter egg hunt. If you would like to help out, please email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also a fifth Sunday, which means we will be serving at Oak Lawn UMC in the afternoon. If you would like to help out there, please let Lisa know.
We announced this last week in church, but, for those who were unable to attend, there is currently a vote underway to hire Genny Rowley as a pastoral resident through December. Genny would share responsibilities with Scott, allowing the team to add more activities, such as increased pastoral care and counseling, Bible study, events, and service work. The proposal is revenue-neutral as the pastoral staff budget ($1500/month through May; $1000/month after May) would be divided equally. The board approved this change pending a community vote to call Genny to this position. Please register your vote by emailing email@example.com or by speaking to a board member in person before March 30th.