“When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey ties, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord need them. ‘ And he will send them immediately.’ The took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and placed there cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.'”
I am not sure about you, but I have a really difficult time with celebrating on Palm Sunday. I guess I just know what the rest of this week is going to bring as we progress further and further along, edging towards Good Friday and the cross. Palm Sunday is the beginning of impending darkness. Yes, we know that Easter is coming, that our Lord and Savior will conquer death and bring about everlasting life, but we cannot get to Easter without first going through Good Friday (My dear friend used this expression today and I had to borrow it!).
This morning I woke up to a text message from one of my news apps, alerting me to yet another bombing–this time of Egyptian Coptic churches. Thanks to hindsight, I know of the impending darkness the disciples and Jesus are about to be met with and I know of the miracle of the resurrection along with the light which cannot be stomped out. But today I look and try to feel the heartbeat of this hurting world and I sense the pain, darkness and loss of hope that is not only coming in the story which leads us to the cross but which also is haunting us this very moment. We all know of the darkness that seems to be swallowing up the light here and now. We have to get through Good Friday to get to Easter morning.
I am weary. I know you must be too. I am saddened anytime I look at my phone. It seems that I am constantly alerted to darkness, pain and suffering. I wonder how much more can this world take? And I think of just how broken God’s own heart must be. Today I read a tweet by Nadia Boltz Weber and she ended it with “Lord have Mercy.” That is all I can utter. Lord, please have mercy. My heart breaks for this broken world and all those in it. My heart aches for those who live every day in fear and grief. I cry for those who are subjected to a life of wandering because they no longer have a home, due to the violence that has ravaged their countries, their lives, their hearts and their minds. And I cry out, “Lord have mercy.” We must endure Good Friday in order to reach Easter.
I am not sure how long this Good Friday (this period of darkness and suffering) will last, but I cling to the hope that Easter is coming. I cling to the hope that our Lord will have mercy. I cling to the hope that that precious baby who was born in a stable did indeed come into the world to bring peace. That that little baby boy grew up to be a loving man (fully human and fully God), willing to lay down his own life to save each and every single one of us in this broken and fallen world. I cling to the hope that Easter morning will come and we will all rejoice. So until then I will continue to move forward, continue to make my way, alongside all of you my dear brothers and sisters, to the cross. I will try to reach my hands out into this broken, bloody and dark world in the hopes of helping in any small way I can. I will continue to believe that there is still light in this world when it seems like the darkness has swallowed it all up. I will do all of this because I know that this is not the first time darkness has seemingly won. I know that the light will not be defeated and I know that Jesus’ resurrection is a sure sign that the light will never be smushed out.
So today I found it hard to rejoice. I find it hard to rejoice because of all the suffering, pain and darkness that I see present in this world today but also for the suffering, pain and darkness that is coming in the story I know so well. But hindsight also allows me to hope, to believe and to know that the light which is everlasting is coming and has already come. Easter morning is coming! We must endure Good Friday in order to reach Easter morning.
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
I pray that the Lord hold each and every single one of us in a safe, everlasting, loving embrace. I pray for those who have only known a life of suffering, pain and darkness. I pray for those who have only known a life of instability, violence and fear. I pray for those who are lost, wandering and homeless. I pray that in this world of so much hatred and so much darkness that each one of us is a light that continues to shine. And I pray, with all of my heart that our Lord has mercy.
Peace, Joy, Blessings, and all my Love,