If you were with us for Palm Sunday this year, you might remember the theme that we celebrated all throughout Palm Sunday; God’s unfathomable power to love and redeem all of God’s creation. It may not have landed that way for you, but hopefully you still have a stone and a homemade cross to remind you.
Luke’s version of the Palm Sunday story has the Pharisees getting highly anxious about the obvious changes coming as Jesus rides the colt into Jerusalem. They did not know (nor did anyone) how life-altering the changes would be, just that things would not be the same as they had been. As the
crowd’s participation in the Jesus-parade builds, the Pharisees demanded:
“Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” But Jesus was not fearful; he was faithful and responded,
“I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would shout out”. Boom! Jesus’ total trust, reliance and hope in God is laid open for all to hear and see.
This is a helpful message for us to hear again when the changes in creation and humanity are more swift
and daunting than ever. Some of these changes are decidedly horrific, like the rise in gun violence in the streets and in our schools and the increasing terrorist attacks on foreign and national soil. Some changes are disturbing; like the way political candidates are treating each other, the process itself and individual citizens and populations.
Even the fairly regular rhythm of Spring seems to be changing and causing confusion. Some of the usual
spring blossoming trees bloomed in December! I suspect more change in climates of all types, (financial,
political and planetary) are on the way. These are unsettling and often give rise to anxiety and ‘dis-ease’.
However not all change is bad. Some change can be powerful and downright thrilling; like the change to our Palm Sunday events this year. Instead of a Palm breakfast and parade before church, we had a powerful intergenerational event after church. We had four ‘stations’ set up so that people of all ages could share in Lenten activities and faith sharing with their family, other church members and friends. The energy was palpable and the smell of the pretzels wafted in the church halls for days afterward!
This was not a singular event but the first of many that we plan to have so that we can help change (read: grow) and deepen the faith of all who come through our doors, no matter what age/stage they are. The biggest part of this change is that kids and youth are part of the planning and leadership of this initiative and will be for future events as well.
This change is welcome, exciting and so different from how most churches still function, plan and lead. We are eager to change.We are not going to stay hunkered down, fearful of the changes coming in the way people want to ‘do church’. We are eager to embrace these changes and to set ourselves up to be a part of the excitement that God is inviting us into.
Some will resist these changes out of fear. Some will resist these changes just to keep things the way they used to be. But many are already relying on Jesus with total trust, reliance and hope, laid open for all to hear and see.
How will you respond to these changes? Like a Pharisee or a Stone?
Ready to shout out with you for Christ,
♥ Rev Jen