Homily: Palm Sunday, March 28, 2015

PALM SUNDAY, YEAR B; Rev. Phil Boelter (Fr. Phil's First Sermon at Gethsemane)  

It's Palm Sunday.

 

Today Jesus is at the top of his game

There are cheers,

the parade through the streets of Jerusalem,

the acclamation,

"Messiah! Messiah!"

 

But today

is also Passion Sunday.

 

We are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This happy parade can't last.

 

Listening to our passion gospel,

we know that it didn't.

The cheers eventually turned into jeers.

 

The week that began with a raucous, joyful parade

ends with Jesus dragging a cross up a hill,

along the very same road where

days before the people

had shouted

and proclaimed him the promised messiah.

 

The deepest truth of this Sunday

is that God is as much present

1in the low valleys as on the high mountains.

 

Somehow

I think we get the impression

that when things are going well for us

that’s when God is with us.

 

So, when bad things happen,

when life throws us some challenges

sometimes we ask,

what did I do wrong,

or even more honestly,

what did I do to deserve THIS?

 

But the Way of Jesus

points us in a different direction.

 

Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday.

This day with two faces,

sanctifies our whole lives-

every moment....

 

both the times when we want to shout "yay!"

and the times when life throws us its greatest challenges.

 

I am tremendously excited this morning

to be called here to Gethsemane-

I sense a positive energy,

new life,     new beginnings for us all.

 

We experience beautiful worship and music

in a handsome historic building.

 

We at Gethsemane are feeding our neighbors,

spiritually and physically,

with our food shelf.

 

Around us

Minneapolis downtown east

is coming alive,

the communities around us

are growing in numbers and resources

and energy.

 

Today we at Gethsemane are strategically poised

to become an even bigger part of God's mission

right where we are,

just as we are right now.

 

OF COURSE there ARE challenges-

we struggle with finances,

small numbers,

the disparities between those who have

and those who don't.

 

But we also have a great heritage of faith,

a parade of forebears

who for over 150 years

have sanctified

this corner of downtown Minneapolis

with worship

and community

and service to others.

 

I'm feeling blessed to be here today.

I hope you're feeling blessed too.

 

However,

I’ve also been around the block

enough times to know

that the honeymoon will eventually end.

 

We will face new and continuing challenges

together as a faith community.

both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday.

 

Where will God be?

Equally present in both.

 

Individually,

we also come from many, many different places.

 

Some of us are out seeking our first job.

Others are rejoicing in finding a job we just love.

 

Some of us are unemployed.

Some of us have been unemployed for a very long time,

too long.

 

Some have 2 or 3 jobs or more,

and are torn in 2 or 3 or 4 directions.

 

Some of us are retired- you lucky ones.

 

Wherever we are in our work lives

whether we have too much work to do

or not enough

God is there.

 

Some of us this morning are deeply in relationship,

married many years or just a few.

 

Some of us live alone.

 

Some among us are newly single or soon to be-

afraid of that empty spot on the pillow next to us.

 

Some of us are single parents,

facing the inevitable challenges

of raising a family that should never be faced alone.

 

We are all facing ups and downs,

highs and lows,

Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday.

 

In our deepest relationshios,

or in the lack thereof,

God is always there.

 

As in the last week of Jesus earthly life,

When the crowds are cheering us on,

God is there.

 

When we face life’s greatest challenges,

even death itself,

as we will do with Christ this holy week-

God is there!

 

In the Quiet of this holy day-

and EVERY day,

God is there.

 

Consider where YOU are.

Is your life more like palm Sunday

or Passion Sunday today ?

Or most likely a little bit of both.

 

Where are you today?

God is there.

Amen.