The title above is an adaptation to Vicki Kemper's Still-Speaking Devotion — Palm-Passion Sunday is a heavy lift. There is so much emotion, drama, rejection, selfishness, greed, pain, and suffering...and I haven't even begun to talk about Holy Week!
No matter the title for Holy Week, what took place in those short seven days reminds us of all the things listed above that are a "heavy lift" at any time for any one of us. For the people following Jesus from palms on the road to the road leading to the Temple, to road to the cross, and finally to the road leading to the tomb, had to ask themselves two questions. For those following Jesus who wrote accounts now in our Bible and the people who canonized those stories, had to ask themselves two questions.
Today, you and I have to also ask ourselves two questions. Moreover, the two questions are the same for each group as James Harnish (retired United Methodist pastor and author so eloquently shares:
"What are you looking for?" It's the question that haunts every human heart, particularly when we face the questions of life and death. What are we really looking for?
"Whom are you looking for?" With personal intimacy Jesus says, "Mary," and she realizes who he is. The light overcomes the darkness. The One for whom she is searching finds her. Mary announces to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord!"
In answering those questions, you and I have to choose, by faith, if God's promise of new life is real, and Jesus is the one who shows us just that on our journey.
Before he went to prison for his resistance to Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to his students concerning the death of three of his friends. Now they sleep with all the brothers who have gone before them, awaiting the great Easter Day of Resurrection. We see the cross, and we believe in the resurrection; we see death, and we believe in eternal life; we trace sorrow and separation, but we believe in an eternal joy and community.
As Harnish reminds us, because of Jesus' resurrection, we face the stony silence of Holy Saturday in hope. We carry our loved ones the way we will one day be carried to the grave-knowing that there's more. And since Vicki Kemper gave me the idea for the title of my article, I will let her words be the last. [T]he challenge of Lent, the challenge of discipleship, is to follow our savior with both eyes and hearts wide open, to embrace the fullness of every moment, trusting that Jesus' way of self-giving love will lead even us to wholeness and new life. Eventually.
Hope to see you in worship this Easter Sunday!