Friday, 3 April 2020

Palm Sunday: Matthew 21.1-11: Ian Green

Last Thursday at 8pm our family ventured outside and joined with others in our street to ‘Clap for Carers’, and in particular those working for the NHS. 

It was an uplifting moment! 
Normally when we cheer and clap in the street it’s because a grand procession is coming our way.  But on Thursday evening nothing arrived.  No one actually received our applause, yet every health worker in the country, I suspect, was buoyed up by it.

Upon reflection I think we knew what we were supporting.  We were giving thanks for dedication and compassion.  We were conscious of all those who’ve gone the extra mile for us, often at some personal risk.  We were thinking of wonderful people in hospitals who do a difficult job.

We also, I suspect, knew why we were doing it. It was all about thanksgiving and having an opportunity to show appreciation.

In the end, this slightly wacky idea caught on and created a great sense of unity for a nation in the midst of crisis.

On Palm Sunday, we are thinking of another crowd out on the streets doing their on kind of clapping, this time by waving branches and calling out Hosanna!

However, maybe this crowd got a few things wrong.  They certainly did if their greeting was for a conquering hero sort of king.  They got it wrong if they thought all the palm waving in the world would bring about transition through violent change, or that freedom could only be achieved by power.

They needed a re-think and the cross gives us all that.  The cross is about self-sacrifice, forgiveness, suffering for others and living out the consequences of love.

The cross redefines our lives, our relationships, our community and our response to the needs of others.  And in these challenging days of Lent 2020 these qualities are rightly being applauded; even  by people out on the streets.

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