Palm Sunday Reflection
This is the time of the year when I realize that I worship a man who died by crucifixion. Jesus’ death on a cross seem ignominious to me. It is surreal really. In the Gospel writer Matthew’s rendering of the events leading to Jesus’ last breath on earth, I see depictions of all sorts of human strengths and weaknesses. From those around Jesus, I see examples of friendship and treachery, kindness and cruelty, courage and cowardice. Jesus himself must have experienced love and enmity, obedience and betrayal, power and gross injustice, perseverance and despair. I wonder if Jesus despaired? Did he despair for being alone, for his life? He prayed alone in a dark garden while his avowed friends laid sleeping—it must seem his darkest hour. I believe he had a choice to walk away from the bitter path laid out for him but he to chose instead to obey. So he walked into his crucifixion.
Jesus is some kind of anti-hero. He is the antithesis of what I expect my answers to be for anything. He didn’t avenge. He didn’t vanquish. He eschewed justice—my human understanding of it—for mercy. He dined with so called sinners and communed with the misbegotten. Then he rose to a kind of popularity among the masses. Then people deserted him. Then he died. What a dramatic disappointment for anyone close to him to witness! He was one short-lived celebrity. But I believe he is more than a celebrity. Even to despair of his death—even his crucifixion—is to miss the point. I believe Jesus stood for the life after—the kind of life that begins after physical death.
Jesus inspired people and scholarship. I believe that his life was a victory and that the victory cannot be fully measured by human terms. I want to believe in compassion in the face of cruelty. I want to practice mercy and forgiveness. I want him to be the example of one who lived this life and lives in one beyond. I believe this.