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Jesus’ Way

“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”  Mark 11:9

On Palm Sunday we begin Holy Week, our journey to and through the cross to resurrection.  Through Lent we honoured God’s creation, our connected to the well-being of the earth and all its inhabitants by a carbon fast, and looking for real solutions to climate change.  On this last Thursday before Holy Week I share a reflection from Jenny Holmes from Living in Lent, Caring for Creation.

“God’s creation is bound up in political and economic systems that destroy its ability to sustain both human and non-human life. We feel small against the magnitude and power of these systems, yet in Jesus’ Way the “powers that be” are turned upside down by the humble and nonviolent.  Jesus’ “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-11) that we remember on Palm Sunday is full of images that undermine Messianic triumphalism and militarism.

Jesus celebrated with peasants shouting, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David,” and waving palm branches, was unarmed and hardly in a position to conquer the established authorities. Rather than entering in a chariot, an instrument of war, he enters on a donkey. Jesus’ destination is the Temple, the principle open public space and the economic and religious center of Jerusalem. He observes the activity of the Temple and returns the next day with his disciples. Then he overturns the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sell doves (Mark 11:15-17). Educator and activist Ched Myers observes that the issue for Jesus wasn’t the existence of economic activity in the Temple, but “the way in which the political economy of the cult had become oppressive to the poor.” The pigeon sellers made their profit off selling the primary commodity that the poor needed to meet their cultic obligations. The moneychangers were very powerful, since all money had to be converted to pay temple dues and tithes. Jesus goes to the center of power and through symbolic action turns systems of domination upside down.
To care for God’s Creation as Christ’s disciples we may be called to go to the centers of power of our nation, our states and cites to speak truth to power through advocacy. Some are called to demonstrate. Putting our faith into action requires that we mindfully observe what is happening in the “Temple” and discern the leverage points of change whether we are advocating for better energy policies or protesting harmful industrial activities. Just as important, is taking time to pray as Jesus and his disciples did. We can be confident that Christ has prepared the way and will be with us every step. Let us remember where the power truly resides as we strive to be faithful to God’s mission of eco-justice.”

     Dear God, Your Community of Creation is here all around us.
 Open our hearts to be surprised by the inbreaking of your grace when we least expect it and when hope seems lost.         
   Give us the courage to follow you into the centers of power and turn upside-down those systems that oppress your people and creation. 
   May we do so with a love and compassion that creates openings for transformation and
   Help us to remember that all your creation is interconnected, and everything depends upon the well-being of the other.
   Let us not forget that our responsibility is to be faithful now and encourage those who will continue on long after we are gone. 
   In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash