Afterthoughts

by Rick Diamond

It weirded me out yesterday to come into the Living Room and see the yarn grid wrapped in plastic and all tied up. The yarn has been all about the complexity and beauty of God in the middle of us. We've put our prayers in it, our confessions, our hopes; we've released our attachments into it; we've seen images and patterns in it symbolizing God's presence in our lives.

But it was wrapped in plastic and all tied up.

It was Palm Sunday, the day when Jesus' so-called Triumphal Entry into the center of the world, Jerusalem, signaled the coming of the conquering King, The Messiah, or Chosen One. The Son of David, who would occupy the throne of the great symbolic king of Israel and who would bring the reign of God on earth. God in charge. God making all things right. And, the Son of God, who would cleanse the Temple of all that wasn't purely God's intention in the Jewish Law, and embody Torah's heart. He would reconnect Israel to its roots in God's Law, and all the world would come to Jerusalem for salvation. That was what everyone had been expecting, for a thousand years. The Messiah would bring "righteousness" -- that is, everything would be as God wants it to be.

Jesus didn't ride into town with a chariot and an army. He rode in on a borrowed donkey, or a colt, depending on which Gospel you read. His followers were thrilled; they sang the songs about the Messiah, and sang the Messiah-is-coming song, with the words "Hosannah! The One who comes in the Name of Yahweh is blessed!" ("Hosannah" means "save us!"). But it was hardly a triumphant entry of a conquering king.

Jesus spent the week talking about what he understood God's righteousness really meant: love, and humility, and caring for the poor. He argued with the religious teachers about God's nature and how to live out God's Law, and parried back at the Temple authorities to whom he was a threat. And then Rome crushed him.

What Jesus was talking about isn't spectacular; it's quiet. It's small. It's seen in relationships between people, and serving humbly, and practicing love. Jesus taught his followers that, and they practiced it, and some people were infected with what Jesus' God. And so are we.

I'm not waiting for the conquering Messiah. Jesus was a loving, patient, courageous Messiah. We are the Messiah, now. We are here to be that vision of God. Of God's righteousness -- of what God wants the world to be like. No parades, no armies, no politics, no earthly power. It's better than that.

When that happens, the plastic wrapping on God that we build when we contain God with our expectations comes falling down.

Listen to the Service

Today's Program

Gathering Our Spirit to God’s Spirit 

The yarn extravaganza continues…
  • “Heroes” by David Bowie plays 
  • A Journeyer steps up to light the lamp and another rings the bell
  • David welcomes folks and has us breathe… updates our progress in our Lenten series

Worshiping with Our Children

  • Children march in with palm branches as “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac plays
  • A Journeyer leads our children in talking about how Jesus wasn’t a king who came to build an army or take over everything; Jesus came to show that what God wants is for us to know God loves us, and to give that love away to the poor and the sad and the needy.
  • David reminds the community, while the children are still gathered, about the new playground for our children, and how our community can pitch in to help purchase and build it
  • Rick talks about money and commitment forms

From Our Spirit to God’s Spirit

  • Leslie makes announcements
  • A Jouneyer reads Mark 11:1-11; then says, “Here is a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, who left organized religion in order to follow Jesus: Preach the Gospel; use words if necessary.” [That’s on screen after the scripture, and stays up as the Garrison Keillor audio clip runs]
  • Dave introduces Garrison Keillor audio clip
  • Garrison Keillor audio clip runs
  • Dave ties up audio clip
  • David introduces The Daylights
  • The Daylights lead the community in singing/music

Giving – To Help God Do God’s Work in This World  

  • A Journeyer reads Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 and leads kickass offering prayer -- about serving God and God’s justice, which is not attachment to our plan, but giving God’s love away
  • The Daylights sing as the ushers pass and collect the offering baskets and bring them to the cross

Telling The Story and Our Story

  • Rick talks
  • Helpers come and cut down wrapping under yarn; The Daylights play softly

We Go Out to Serve with Mercy and Grace

Images