Okay, so this week I’m getting back to more explicitly religious stuff . . . as my blog claims to be about . . . but anyway . . . (I’m also kind of personaled out for the moment.)
On Sunday we kicked off Holy Week with the celebration of Palm Sunday (a.k.a. Passion Sunday). First we’re praising Jesus and singing Hosanna, and then we’re yelling, “Crucify him!” and sending him to the Cross. We welcome Him; then we kill Him. What gives?
Usually, preachers will say that the same people waving palms as he entered Jerusalem were the same ones who later cried out for his death. On the other hand, last year the celebrant at my parish added a few comments just before the Liturgy of the Palms. He said that those yelling Hosanna, the marginalized, were not necessarily the same ones with murder on their lips, the powerful. I hadn’t really thought of that before.
However, things rarely are that simple. Not everyone who greeted the King also later wanted to kill Him. Likewise, it’s also much too easy to make a clear distinction. Some did welcome him as a savior and wept at his execution. Others feared his coming as a threat to their position and rejoiced at his elimination. Then there were probably some who cried out for both. Some people expected Jesus to arrive as a conquering Messiah and were angry when he failed to act as they wanted. Other people maybe just wanted to be around any sort of excitement and didn’t really care who or what it was.
And then quite possibly there were also the sort who enjoy nothing more than building people up and then tearing them down. Maybe I’m just viewing this through 21st century celebrity media culture eyes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people like that have existed throughout time. I’d even go so far as to say that most of us have been guilty at times. We laud a famous person as this great and wonderful person worthy of adulation. Then there comes a point when we turn on that person and latch onto them in a death grip, not letting go until they’re utterly crushed. Then we repeat the process with someone else or even the same person.
Do we ever do that with Christ? I’m not sure if we necessarily take explicit glee in His death, but maybe each of us does bear some responsibility at times. I know I can find it honor someone who’s safely deceased. It’s much safer that way than dealing with a Risen and Ascended Lord. It’s easier to keep Him in our own little boxes than to let Him spring forth and lead us along paths unknown.