“Life is full of ups and downs, sometimes we smile, sometimes we frown….” Lines from a song I sang in my youth dressed up as a frog !!!! But oh so true. At the beginning of Lent when I told Astrid I would be giving up chocolate he responded … “ I am going to give up two things this year..”
“Oh yes ?” I asked, to be told “school and church!” But, as Oscar Wilde said “Be careful what you wish” It was initially good news when both were closed but two weeks in I suspect the novelty is beginning to wear off … !
Those early disciples who had spent three years with Jesus through all the ups and downs of his earthly ministry certainly knew this to be true – the baptism of Jesus, the feeding of the 5,000, the people he healed or even raised from the dead….there were plenty of highs. But, let’s not forget the lows …. the constant fault finding of the religious authorities, the disciples’ failure to understand so much of his teaching, the failure of the disciples to really trust him …. And that is before we begin Holy Week when his closest disciples fell asleep when he needed them most, denied they ever knew him, ran away and betrayed him. And even Palm Sunday itself follows this same pattern. We have the exciting story of Jesus entering Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowds, hailed as a king and Messiah; branches and cloaks strewn on the road and a real sense of excitement and joy in His wake. Every year as I worship on Palm Sunday I just get into the thrill and excitement of worship with the words Hosanna, hosanna……when I am plunged into the depths of misery in the reading of the Passion story and those dreadful events of Holy week. The ups and downs of just one day become so real. Yes the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem was to end just 5 days later with his leaving under the weight of that brutal and cruel cross, and for those first disciples the end of their Lord and Master. Can we begin to imagine what it must have been like for them?
They must have been in something of the confusion, turmoil and anxiety that we are feeling in these strange times of Spring 2020. Easter day will be very different for us this year and Alleluias may be in short supply but we KNOW the end of the story, which gives us hope for the future. And the biggest up of all in our Christian Faith – I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES
Prayer for Palm Sunday 2020.
Jesus said “ in as much as you do it for one of these the least of my brothers, you do it for me……”
And so in these troubled and confused days we remember all those who are working to keep things going:
Those working in the NHS and those around it helping to keep things working,
those keeping our streets clean and collecting our rubbish,
those harvesting, delivering and seling the food in our shops,
those keeping us secure and our utilities functioning,
those looking after the children of key workers,
those helping to care for the elderly and vulnerable,
clergy of all faiths and religions seeking to minister in difficult times….