Monday, 18 April 2011

What do you hold in your hands at the beginning of Holy Week - nails or palm branches?

For the beginning of Holy Week the service this morning in the ecumenical centre was called "From hosanna to crucify him".
In the meditation I asked - what do you have in your hands? Palm leaves, palm crosses, branches to greet the coming king? Or nails to crucify him?
There is such hope among the crowd as they strew their garments and give Christ the red carpet treatment - Hosanna is a cry of wanting to be saved, save us, be our saviour ...
Do the same ones just a few days later scream crucify him?
This movement from the jubilant expectant hopeful crowd to the murderous mob is one of the aspects of the passion story I find most difficult to bear and contemplate, am I too so unable to remain faithful even for a few days?
As I reflected this morning I realised that I hold both nails and celebratory branches in my hands - the capacity to be part of the murderous mob and the hopeful crowd.

And when the resurrection comes it is not in the first place to crowds but to individuals, small groups of doubting, stunned, hopeless believers. Hosanna ...

After asking my question about the nails and the palms I read this wonderful poem which my colleagues Manoj Kurian wrote in 2008. And we kept silent as the sun streamed into the chapel before singing "Jesus Christ is waiting ..."

Are we part of the crowd or are we among the witnesses?

Are we part of the crowd ?

Swayed by the influential and the appealing?

Making convenient compromises,

Preserving and expanding our power and status;

Oblivious of the Messiah among the vulnerable and the poor;

Broadening the highways of our selfish desire;

Obstructing the narrow paths;

That lead to the reign of God.

Are we among the witnesses?

Striving consistently to know God;

In creation, community, in the other and in oneself;
Reflecting truth in our own lives and all that we do.

To recognize the crucified Christ amongst us;

To be with and work with the suffering and the tortured;

For the liberation of all creation;
From the shackles of greed and exclusion.

Striving consistently to see the risen Lord;

In creation, community, in the other and in oneself;
Working for liberation in all we endeavor.

Humbly persisting to be transformed, to transform the world.

In victory and in failure;

In joy and in pain;

In solidarity and in betrayal;
Are we among the witnesses or are we with the crowd?

Manoj Kurian / WCC


ENYA said...

Thanks very much Jane!!! Excellent and good food for thought and reflection.

Susan said...

Love Manoj's poem