Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Palm Sunday Re-visited?

I preached on the so-called 'Triumphal Entry' on Sunday. I was particularly keen to try to find something 'new' in the story that a group of mature Christians had probably heard every year for longer than I've been alive.

It occurred to me: was it really a triumphal entry? Afterall, it seems that it can be interpreted not only as a 'processional praise party' cheering Jesus on the way to Jerusalem, but also as being a story of failure - the failure of the people to recognise Jesus as a non-violent messiah and also the failure of Jewish religion to provide honest worship to God. If there was a whiff of triumph on that first Palm Sunday it certainly wasn't the sort that would impress Rome or the kind that impressed the fickle crowds in Jerusalem for very long. In fact, some commentators believe that the 'Hosanna' cry was actually part of the usual Passover wish for the restoration of the Davidic monarchy rather than a direct affirmation of Jesus' messiahship. The people sing in honour of the coming King without fully realising that he is in their midst.

I'm left to wonder whether Jesus himself actually wanted a 'triumphal entry'. Perhaps it's possible to see it more as a 'lowly' entry - particularly seeing as he goes on, in Luke 19:41-44, to ruin any kind of praise-party atmosphere with his jugdgement of Israel when its enemies will come and 'dash them to the ground'.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Judas I never knew

Our Lent blog has not gone as well as hoped. We haven't had as much response from people. Thanks to all of you have blogged, you've certainly got me thinking.

Today let me encourage you to read this blog by Kester Brewin called The Judas I never knew

Friday, April 07, 2006

Being in the kingdom is a bit like being on an escalator

I like the chandelier thing. It reminds me of something one of the YP said a few Sundays ago when we were looking at Psalm 107 (as part of the lectionary).

The Message translation repeats the phrase:

"Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
he got you out in the nick of time."

He felt that life is like an escalator, and you're travelling along it, and as soon as you near the end of it (i.e. into danger) God snatches you out and puts you back at the beginning of the escalator - in the nick of time.

He also once said that Jesus was like a Hoover, but I'll leave that for another time.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

the kingdom of heaven is like a chandelier

We've just been doing a Lent group at our church in Bristol and it's been great to share stories and have deeper spiritual discussions than the usual post-service 'coffee and fellowship' (?!) time allows. We spent some time talking about some of Luke's stories (prodigal son, great banquet, good samaritan) and we watched a clip from Only Fools and Horses when Rodney and Delboy offer to fix a chandelier. Naturally, all goes wrong and it ends up totally shattered on the floor. I was trying to point out that the kingdom is a restoration of our alienation from God, others and ourselves. Just as the crystal, glass and frame had to be re-connected to each other and then re-fitted to the ceiling in order to function, so the work of the kingdom is to reverses the effects of our alienation and restores us to God, others and ourselves.

You made find some flaws in my theory but I hope it is of some relevance!

We were also struck by a quote from David Thomson, author of 'Lent with Luke' who said: 'One of the saddest things is that one generation's prodigal sons so easily become the next generation's elder brothers.