March 25, 2018: unSILENCED

Posted on : Mar 22nd, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

We sure live in a world of intimidation, accusation and condemnation. Many who previously have been silenced are now unsilenced.  Women are now telling their stories of sexual intimidation and abuse, including girls from the USA Women’s Gymnastics team, women in the entertainment industry and women in politics.  Others want to be unsilenced, seeking to have nondisclosure agreements and confidentiality agreements nullified.  Even the NRA’s stronghold on members of Congress may be loosening as more and more Americans demand legislation for sensible gun control.

One group the NRA hasn’t been able to silence is the youth from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.  These kids are bright, articulate and organized.  Tomorrow they are expecting over 500,000 children, youth and adults to participate in their “March for Our Lives,” a march for sensible gun control in Washington, D. C., That event has resonated with so many others that it now has at least 817 “sibling marches” planned world-wide this Saturday!  They are not about to be silenced.

These kids are in good company.  Everyone who has ever worked for social justice or societal change has experienced the intimidation and “silencing” factor.  Those in positions of privilege, power or authority don’t give it up easily.  That is also the message of Palm Sunday.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day wanted Jesus silenced.  Jesus was always challenging their authority and their interpretation of religious law.  Even more than that, Jesus challenged their teachings about the very nature of God.

If Jesus had stayed in the wilderness, they probably wouldn’t have cared one bit about him.  But Jesus’ teaching and practice of his beliefs was very public.  He touched and changed many people’s lives.  Word about him spread very quickly.  The ultimate test of Jesus’ message was his entrance into the city of Jerusalem, the “holy city,” the “seat of religious power.”  His dramatic entry into Jerusalem was about as “in your face” as it gets.  As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, massive crowds gathered shouting “Praise God! Praise God! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God!”  To them, God was drawing near to their lives and they were on fire.

Some of the Pharisees, who were the keepers of the Law, the Sharia police – if you’ll allow me to use interfaith metaphors – told Jesus to rebuke, to “silence” this mass of followers.  But Jesus replied to the Pharisees, “I tell you, if they were quiet, the very stones would cry out.”

The area around Jerusalem was notorious for its sand and stones.  This would be like Jesus standing in the middle of the Mojave Desert and saying “every grain of sand will cry out!”  With that bold pronouncement, the power play began.  Intimidation, accusation and condemnation were all heaped on Jesus.  The religious authorities tried so hard to silence him.  But in the end, Jesus couldn’t be silenced.

Palm Sunday commemorates the ultimate assurance that God cannot be silenced.  Not even death on a cross can silence the good news of God’s love.   It is the day for us to be unsilenced!  To proclaim with one voice or a chorus of voices that God’s love and justice cannot be silenced, nor can we, the bearers of that good news.

Blessings,

Dan

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Luke 19: 28-40

Luke recounts Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Hosanna! Hosanna!

Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of our God.

Hosanna in the highest!

Jesus went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Beth’phage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat; untie it and bring it here.   If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this, ‘The Savior has need of it.’” So those who were sent went away and found it as he had told them.  And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Savior has need of it.”  

And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their garments on the colt, they set Jesus upon it. And as he rode along, they spread their garments on the road.

As he was drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying,   

Hosanna! Hosanna!

Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of our God.

Hosanna in the highest!

And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

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