Lent VI Palm Sunday

Lent VI: Palm Sunday in the Lord’s Passion
2020 – Cycle A
Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14 – 27:66

אלוהי, אלוהי, מדוע עזבת אותי

There are no enthusiastic crowds following along today.
…no shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
…no waving of palms and branches,
…nor spreading of cloaks on the ground.
Even the stones are silent.

It is an unusually still Palm Sunday.
The quiet is shattered only by a lone voice that cuts through the universe to pierce the silence of God.

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”

אלוהי, אלוהי, מדוע עזבת אותי

 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

In that one question converges all of humanity’s despair and fear.  It is the cry of the tortured and imprisoned; the lonely and abandoned.

What have you heard in that cry of Jesus?  Was it a cry of desperation or is it a prayer of fidelity?  Was Jesus raging at the silence of God or praying to the God of promises and covenants even when that God is silent?

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”  It is the opening full-throated cry of Psalm 22.  Listen.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
            Why are you far from saving me?
            I cry by day and you do not answer;
            I call be night and sleep deserts me.
But you, O Holy God –
            you sit enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Our ancestors put their trust in you;
            they trusted and you rescued them;
            they cried to you and were saved;
            they trusted you and were never disappointed.

Are these words of despair and hopelessness or confidence and trust…or both?  The complexity of this psalm reflects the complications of our human lives; especially in this time of the coronavirus which has made life so fearful and much more difficult for everyone.  Can God forsake us and still remain holy?  Can God be both silent and present?  Is there anyone there to listen to our cries or are we shouting into the void?

In Jesus Christ crucified, absence and presence, sin and holiness, humanity and divinity, abandonment and loving embrace all converge.  This is the paradox of the human experience that is most clearly seen in Christ crucified.

Death, as the instrument to destroy death forever.

Sin, nailed to a cross to reveal salvation and redemption.

Son, abandoned so as to be hope for all humanity.

A stillness is shattered by a full-throated cry and we too, in our fears and isolation, our fragile hope and wavering trust are called to be faithful.

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1 Response to Lent VI Palm Sunday

  1. msperti says:

    The images make this even more dramatic, so I hope people check it out. This should be most effective/affective. Mel

    Carmel Ann Sperti, D.Min. Oneonta, NY

    “The way to love anything is to realize it might be lost. ”           – G. K. Chesterton

    “Two roads diverged in a wood and I — I took the one less traveled by — and that has made all the difference.”~ Robert Frost

    “Be not lax in celebrating! Be not lazy in the festive service of God; be ablaze with enthusiasm. Let us be an active, burning offering before the altar of God.” -Hildegard of Bingen


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