Palm Sunday has opened the gates of our Redemption. We are now being swept into the swirl of tension where the good faces the evil and results in our redemption.
Chaos theory runs rampant in theology. The narrative of this week is meant to demonstrate that a good, simple teacher of the new faith was too much for the established religious teachers to accept and the established political leaders to condone. The latter provided the undertow that kept the growing number of believers in fear and resistant to conversion. I think each of the two groups asked: Who was this Jesus of the rabbinical culture? Who was this Jesus of resistance to Roman and Jewish oppression? This was the week they could find answers – if they were open. But they weren’t. So chaos ensues.
According to many philosophers and poets and writers, chaos is the absence of God. Where God is denied, violence, hatred, uncontrolled power all converge to assert control. And since God is denied, violence seeps in like a sulfurous vein mounting to fumes of hatred where God is hardly distinguishable, and where well-meaning followers stumble in their darkness to find salvation. Chaos, in other words, is evil. It wants us to stray rather than face our challenges of faith, our love for God. Chaos tempts us to consider that we do not have to be part of a worshipping community. We do not have to consider our responsibilities of baptism, we do not have to pray – because – after all — God knows my heart. And when we adhere to chaos, unknowingly, we contribute to greater chaos in the life around us: family, community, world.
That’s the kind of chaos that swirled around Jesus these days: a tornado of anger, resistance, betrayal, misunderstanding, false judgment, fear, hatred. These feelings and emotions gathered like clouds over him while tightening into the sharp point, a vortex of crucifixion. Chaos takes minions of people to achieve an ignominious end of someone. For Jesus, it swells with betrayal of Judas, the carelessness in the sleepy Peter, James, John, the authority of Pilate and Caiaphas. He is at the mercy of all this chaos.
Sit with your scriptures this week. Ponder slowly the narratives beginning on Holy Thursday and ending on Easter morning.
Put yourself in these narratives as either an active participant or a by-stander. Go deeper into your soul. What are you experiencing? What do you observe? What insights are you having?
This week let us try to appreciate the narrative of our redemption. Frame it in the context of asking: what can I do to help others, and myself, move closer to the realization that I know Christ lives in me?One of my favorite prayers during this Holy Week is Handel’s third movement of the Messiah in which the aria, “I Know My Redeemer Liveth” is presented in all its thoughtful and melodic beauty. I suggest you play it as you read and reflect on the meaning of these days (…“in my flesh I shall see God.”)