In the Lukan text for Palm Sunday, as Jesus enters the town, he weeps over the city. Jesus experiences grief for all the pain these people will feel, grief for the loss of his life which is to come, grief for the systems of evil that persist even today. Jesus is the Savior who comes to save us not through displays of political power or military might, but the Savior who weeps over our cities and gives Himself up.
And it’s OK for us to grieve into our futures, too. Much is uncertain, and the likelihood is that people we care for around the world will suffer even more than they already have.
Personally, I am grieving two graduations for people I love. I’m grieving the probable delays in the process of building our family through adoption. I am grieving the people I love getting sick. I am grieving the many who have lost their lives and the lives we will lose before we are safe-er again.
Grieving into the future is a different kind of feeling. It’s the loss of our expectations. The loss of our hopes. The loss of the futures we imagined for ourselves, our families, our churches, our world.
But it’s also the surrender of our power.
It’s giving up the life that political power or violence or money promises us. Grieving into the future acknowledges the truth about all the things we fall victim to, all the powers that do not save.
And instead of pining for the days that came before, and hoping they will come again. Grieving into the future helps us to lean in with the savior who weeps over the city, acknowledging the pain, acknowledging our need to be saved, letting go of the hopes and expectations that no longer serve us.
And that grief will uncover our undeniable need for a Savior. Hosanna, Hosanna, save us, save us.
As we follow this Savior all the way to the Cross, we’ll start to see that the overwhelming beauty of the resurrection comes at the end of the most difficult road, and that road starts with this march against the powers of the day.
We might not be able to march out today. But someday, a day I hope is not far away, we will. We will be able to cry out with the stones of the earth, to bring God’s Kingdom to earth.
This is not the time to wave our palms in the street. Not a time to parade.
But a time to parade will come.
When safety has returned, we will have heroes to celebrate. And just like Jesus’ triumphal entry was not like Pilate’s typical military parade…the heroes we will owe our lives to will not be the people we usually laud.
We will owe our lives and safety to cart return person at HEB. To the doctors and nurses who went into danger unequipped with the gear they needed and deserved to expect. To the janitors that quietly protected us with no thanks. God at work in the people we would not have expected is quite fitting for our Holy Week reflection, because Jesus was the Savior no one could expect.
This is not a time to march, but a time to march will come.
When safety has returned, We will understand the teachings of Jesus in a new way. We will no longer be able to ignore the ways that our systems leave so many of God’s beloved uncared for, unprepared, and in danger. Because now we have all experienced the failure of the things we have built. We built them without ever considering the most vulnerable among us, and now we are all experiences the failures we used to be able to hide.
The constant procession of our structures and powers, demanding more and more of our attention, have suddenly stopped. Everything stopped.
And what’s left? We’re asked to stay home. And sit on our couch. And cry out to God from there “hosanna, hosanna, save us, save us.
It’s more ridiculous than the savior on the donkey even really.
The collective voice of God’s people speaking through their absence, not their presence in the public sphere.
When we stay home, we dig in our heels against all the evil tendencies that try to tell us that our neighbor’s life is worth our convenience or our money or our sense of control. It’s an act of resistance, not unlike Jesus models for us. Jesus is the savior who saves us by giving himself up.
And in this critical moment, God is calling us once again to show up and bear witness to God’s saving power. To choose the narrow path of the kingdom of God over all the glittery, powerful looking options were being given.
The grace of our current crisis may be that we are reminded that we are always in deep need of saving. And we are never far from the saving power of God through Jesus Christ. God hears our cries of Hosanna in our hearts and homes as well as in the streets of Jerusalem.
And as we follow Jesus through the week of his arrest, death, burial, and resurrection, we will see that the carving out the depths of grief will make room in our hearts for us space to experience the healing and joy of God’s mercy and grace on Easter. May we have the grace and courage to make it so.