Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash delivered a message on “Palms” on Sunday, April 13, 2013, based on Matthew 21:1-11, and 26:14-16. To read the sermon, click here. She closed her message with these words:
We who are called to have the mind and spirit of Jesus betray him when we allow our own self-interest, our own prejudices, our own tacit acceptance of the status quo to limit the ways in which we could help make God’s kingdom a reality here on earth, as it is in heaven.
We betray Jesus when we see people in need and close our hearts against them.
We betray Jesus when we gather wealth (coins) into our own hands while others live in hunger and poverty.
We betray Jesus when we know what he would do but are afraid to do it.
We betray Jesus when we ignore the love he insisted upon and embrace hate.
Palms of praise easily can become palms of betrayal. And because of that, because of our human insistence on hating, hurting, and hoarding, Jesus opens his own palms in love and dies even while pleading for humanity, “Forgive them, Father, they don’t know what they are doing.”
Sometimes, I think we do know what we are doing, or failing to do. But the amazing thing about the love of God in Jesus is that when we fess up to our sin and confess it,we are embraced by the grace that was given to us through those palms.
Palms of praise, palms of betrayal, palms of loving grace: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” and may those who go in his name be a blessing as well.
Today as you leave worship you will be given a palm of praise, receive it and carry it remembering that we are called to praise the living Christ. Today you will also be given a coin, receive it and carry it reflecting on how you betray Christ. Journey through this week anticipating the pitcher and basin, the bread, the cup, nails and finally resurrection celebration. In this week, fully prepare to meet the risen Christ.