Tomorrow on Palm Sunday, known also as Passion Sunday, millions of Christians worldwide begin reliving traditions and history, an emotional and spiritual outpouring and preparation for a remembrance of betrayal, defeat, and triumph over humankind’s oldest enemy – loss of hope.
People who live passionately reflect their strong beliefs.
Passion energizes, and while Passion Sunday leads to a reflection on the painful suffering and death of Jesus Christ, many for 2,000 years have drawn strength from hearing and symbolically re-enacting the event.
The Rev. Nancy Erickson, a minister at First-Plymouth United Church of Christ in Lincoln, Neb., suggests an additional approach.
“There is another way to think about the passion of Jesus. Jesus was passionate about God and God’s will for humankind. Jesus’ life reflects God’s desire for justice, for compassion, for community. He emanated Divine Spirit. He lived out of his authentic self. He showed us how to live compassionately during his life. He was willing to let his life come to the conclusion it did because he was unwilling to deviate from his path, from his passion. Jesus’ passion teaches us what it is to live faithfully, trusting in God,” she wrote in a meditation for Lent.
“We too can live connected to God. The more authentically we live out of our true self, our true passion, the more connected we become to God’s Spirit. Take some time on this Passion Sunday, as we enter this Holy Week, to consider where your passion lies,” Erickson said.
The crowds who greeted Jesus on his arrival in Jerusalem at the start of that fateful Passover week, shouted affirmations:
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our Father David, which is coming! Hosanna in the heavens!”
Some in the same crowd changed their passions to a call for the death of Jesus later in the same week. Few would have foreseen their change of mind in the reverie of the moment, seen only through their eyes of personal expectation, not seeking to see through God’s eyes – in a new way.
Perhaps it was because they had not taken to heart the equivalent of these long-holy words from the “Book of Hours”:
God be in my head and in my understanding.
God be in mine eyes and in my looking.
God be in my mouth and in my speaking.
God be in my heart and in my thinking.
God be in mine end and in my departing.
Passion is a dangerous state of mind if not understood with ears, eyes and hearts of faith.