Today was the start of Holy Week. Had I not been attuned to it, and had been pondering it all week, it could have slid by unnoticed. The problem of missing a holy day isn’t in where one worships and how “liturgical” the design of the worship is… the problem is that in our self-absorbed lives we can go happily along and just… forget.
As I think on this, I think it’s a lack of understanding. What seems to “matter” is based on the perspective at the moment. What’s urgent? What’s most pressing? Rarely is the crisis at work really that urgent… unless you work in an E.R.! We lack understanding because we lack perspective. It’s like viewing life in 2-D instead of 3-D.
In the time of Christ, this was part of the issue as well. They could not understand a rabbi who trashes all of their greatly loved traditions (not the Scriptures — the traditions! there’s a difference!) They puzzled over his condemnation of their attempts to be holy and to enforce holiness. They grumbled when he did not “respect” them and their learned teachings.
Yet… as I ponder it and I read the story of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, it hits me… The same crowds that yell “Hosanna! Here is the King!” will yell “Crucify him!” later in the story. They follow the loudest voices, the most urgent and strident ones. From the perspective “on the ground” this makes no sense. From the perspective of heaven, it works. There is a far bigger plan than we realize.
So much of life is like that.
We yammer. God works. We whine. God works. We browbeat. God works.
Many times in ways we don’t expect. And many times, in spite of what we ask for and pray for.
My Hosannas today were offered as I saw the faces of transformed people. When I hugged a friend. When I put a flower in someone’s hand. When I sat with my family and enjoyed a day off from my studies. When I listened to the St. Matthew Passion and heard words of hope. And promise.
Christ IS our salvation. Christ IS our Lord. Despite my forgetting or ignoring this truth.. those facts don’t change.
Tonight in my evening reading, I found these words…
today I declare that I will restore to you double.
I could give you a big exegetical or historical explanation for those words… and that would be very scholarly of me. .But I think that would miss the real point. It’s simply this — I am a prisoner of HOPE. And that is where I want to live out my life.
It’s messy. And frequently, I do it wrong. But God is indeed in it.