Palm Sunday 2022 - Introduction to the Peace
We live in a beautiful world. Yet this
world is consumed by violence, war and oppression. We gather in the midst of
the chaos of this beautiful world. The violence of this world. The fear and
anguish of this world.
We gather to share bread and wine, not
separate from the events of this world, but inextricably as part of this world.
Just as when Jesus entered Jerusalem he entered a city occupied by the Roman
empire. A city caught up in the chaos of this beautiful world.
Jesus entered Jerusalem as a liberator,
surrounded by the poor, the forgotten. They worshipped him laying cloaks and
palm branches at his feet.
The Russian military
entered Ukraine at the behest of a power-hungry dictator. The army followed his
call and were met not with worship or songs of joy and liberation, but with
firm resistance from a free nation.
Jesus entered Jerusalem accompanied by
his followers, a rag-tag group of prophets, fishermen, tax collectors, zealots,
including those with concealed knives, those with concealed motives.
military entered Ukraine with planes, helicopters, tanks, armoured trains,
mercenaries, soldiers, invaders, including those who believed they were
liberating an oppressed people.
When he entered Jerusalem Jesus faced
down the vast and expansive Roman empire on nothing more than a borrowed
donkey. His weapons were words of hope and acts of love. He spoke uncomfortable
truth to power and turned the tables on a system that had lost its way.
military entered Ukraine with one of the worlds greatest military forces accompanied
by a reign of fire and chaos and violence and blood and were met by elderly
women bearing sunflower seeds and the guards of strategic islands all speaking
truth to power.
As Jesus entered Jerusalem he began his
final pilgrimage towards his victory. A victory shrouded in loss and
devastation. A victory marked by the death of a political insurrectionist. A
victory that looked like abject failure. The victory of death on a cross.
military entered Ukraine hungry for victory and causing loss and devastation
across a whole nation. Looking for a victory marked by the planned assassination
of a so called “Nazi” President. This hunger for violent victory sparked into a
terror that has destroyed cities, families and led to the most heinous of
crimes. Right now we can have no idea of what is a victory or a failure for the
Russian military and we can have no idea of the pain of those whose lives have
been destroyed by this terror. For the Ukrainian people a victory could be the
end of hostilities and the retreat of the Russian military. But in the face of
such devastation even this victory will hurt like abject failure.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem he did so
knowing that to bring about liberation he would have to lay down his life, that
through his sacrifice the deep peace of shalom might finally be pronounced. The
same peace we gather to share today in the sharing of hospitality, the sharing
of bread and wine, of word and prayer.
Russian military entered Ukraine they did so expecting an easy victory,
expecting to be seen as liberators of the oppressed, with delusions of bringing
peace. But the way of conquest and war is not the way of peace, of shalom.
Jesus entered Jerusalem to heal the
hurts and divisions of this world. To speak faith, hope and love over the lies
of the world and call people into following the way of peace.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my
peace I give you. I do not give to you as the
world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
So now let us share in the peace that
Jesus gives us, a peace that is not enamoured with the violence of war, but is
instead hopeful and everlasting.
The peace of the Lord be always with
And also with you.
Let us offer one another a sign of
Jesus’ unfailing peace.
The peace is shared