Summary: A sermon for Palm Sunday, Year B
March 28, 2021
Hope Lutheran Church
Rev. Mary Erickson
From Cheers to Jeers
Friends, may grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Fads come and go. They’re here today and gone tomorrow. Their memory usually lingers longer than the fad itself:
• Cat-eye glasses
• Mood rings
• Cabbage Patch Dolls
• The Rubik’s Cube
• And let’s not forget the Mullet! Or maybe we should.
Fads, by nature, come and go. They give way to the next big thing. Fads capture our interest. But it doesn’t take very long before we’re board of them. And then we’re hungry for the next new thing to tickle our imagination.
Something like this was happening in Jerusalem when Jesus arrived on the scene. The fabulous stories of his exploits in Galilee had preceded him. They’d heard all about the famous rabbi from Nazareth. And most recently, news of the remarkable raising of Lazarus in nearby Bethany had created shock waves.
So when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the city went crazy. And he was riding on a donkey, no less! Jerusalem’s kings rode donkeys. And now this descendent of David entered the capital city astride the humble beast!
Jesus was the man of the hour. But the praises would very quickly fade. In just a few short days, the cheers would turn into jeers. On Sunday the crowds acclaimed Jesus as the Son of David. But by Friday, they chose to spare a notorious and violent insurrectionist over him.
What happened? The curse of humanity. The actions present during Holy Week point to the underlying disease afflicting all of humankind.
We have been rendered fractured by sin. From Adam and through each and every generation of humankind, we’ve been broken by the effects of sin. We were meant to be whole. We were meant to see the full light of the world; the light no darkness can overcome. But the unified state of our soul has been shattered like a mirror. The small fragments are separated and misaligned from each other.
Each shard within our entirety is set slightly askew from the other fragments. Each aspect of who we are is tilted slightly away from our other pieces. And so every portion of our overall makeup sees the world from a slightly different angle. They reflect a different light. And so they chase after competing visions and ideals.
How we view the world and how we make sense of it can change on any given day. Which fractured portions of our broken self are controlling us? What voices are we listening to?
What should be the one clear image of God’s light and truth shining upon our world has been shattered. The unified consciousness within each of our souls has been broken and misaligned.
But not so with our Lord. Jesus’ vision, his heart and soul – they are perfectly whole and faultlessly aligned with the will of God. That perfect alignment allowed him to remain focused on his purpose. He was able to see through the hall of mirrors of competing emotions and voices. His unbroken soul permitted him walk directly on course to his destiny. And his destiny was to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The pomp and praise of Palm Sunday was never his end goal. His focus was directed completely on Golgotha. Jesus’ end game was the cross and grave. In order to heal our brokenness, he had to become completely shattered. God’s healing balm for the world could only come through the One who descended more and more into our fractured human frailty.
The crown he was destined to wear wouldn’t be made of gold; it would be twisted from thorns. The cheers would give way to jeers. The praise would melt into passion. At the cross he fulfilled his destiny.
St. Paul encourages us: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” The mind of Christ was fully focused on the will of God. Filled with the love of God, Jesus poured himself out into the form of a servant.
Friends, as we focus our minds on Christ, that same love of God forms and fills us. It straightens what is crooked. It trains our minds away from all of the splintered, glittering distractions and focuses our attention on the one true thing that matters, the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. In Christ, there we find the healing of our fractured souls.