April 5, 2009 Palm Sunday (RCL B) Mark 14: 1 – 15: 47
I’m sorry Jesus, but every year it’s the same. Darn it!
A good Lent. Not perfect, but good. Building up my spiritual muscles, you might say. And all the best intentions in the world. And we get right up to the edge. Every year it’s like this. Leaning forward, ready to go. But in the end, in the end, something in me fails. The Old Adam, I guess. I thought I had put it all behind me this time. Thought that the ties that had held me down and held me back were finally cut away. That I was free. But once again, right up to the edge, and I can’t. I just can’t.
I read about heroes of one sort or another all the time. Running up the stairways in burning buildings. Throwing their bodies over live grenades. And I wonder, how does that happen? What clicks inside? Is it all pure instinct? Is there any calculation, any preparation that gets you to that point?
And I watch you here, now, this morning. And I know that there is something for me here to do, something to say, some step, some leap into the unknown. Like we said: All for one, one for all. I’ll never deny you, never betray you. Never. With you all the way.
And then--there is a familiar tremor of the heart. Again. A short breath. And the moment passes. And I wonder: what have I missed? What have I missed?
Hanging in the corner of the High Priest’s Courtyard. All of us. Full of fear. Yet unable to run away.
Things aren’t that simple for us either, Jesus. You know that, I suppose. Just turn on the news. Recession and economic meltdown. Wars and rumors of war. Ancient tribal hatreds expressed in the new vocabulary of suicide vests and improvised explosive devices. Oakland or Binghamton or right up the street here in Stanton Heights.
The world goes haywire. Relationships stress and strain. The old storylines break up, fade away, and nothing seems to come forward to take their place. It’s just hard to know--where we’re headed, what the goal is. Climbing a pretty steep mountain, and half way up we seem to have forgotten where the top is, or why getting there, why getting there, was even all that important.
In any case, again: I had the best of intentions. I want you to know that, Jesus. We all did. And hope that counts for something. The story continues. Unflinching. Rolling on to its inevitable conclusion. And yes, I know, I know: I said I’d be there for you: come what may. Come what may. I know. But once again, old friend, it looks like I’m going to be on the sidelines for this. We are.
This last leg of the journey you’re going to have to manage on your own.