News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland
Our theme this Lent is Flourishing. Lent , Passover, Palm Sunday and Easter coincide with Spring; when we naturally turn towards the future. For the Jewish people, Passover was more than a religious observance. It was the time of year when they celebrated liberation from Egyptian bondage.
During Jesus’ time, they also used this opportunity to express their longing for political freedom from Rome. Jews who claimed to be “messiahs” – come to bring political freedom to Israel – had so often caused riots during Passover that the Romans habitually brought extra troops into Jerusalem during the Passover sea-son. The Roman soldiers did not hesitate to shed blood to keep the peace. The Roman powers did not hesi-tate to use violence to remind the people who was in fact in charge, to whom the people should look.
On the Sunday before Passover, Jesus came out of the wilderness on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives (just as the prophecy said the Messiah would come).
People spread cloaks and branches on the road before him. The crowd began shouting, “Hosanna,” a slogan of the ultra-nationalistic Zealots, which meant, “Please save us! Give us freedom!” Those who may have felt invisible to justice, forgotten by their leaders, overlooked in all the troubles of the land, gathered to pro-claim that God was their Savior – and that Jesus seemed to be his servant.
The people also waved palm branches, a symbol that had once been placed on Jewish coins when the Jewish nation was free. Thus the palm branches were not only a symbol of peace and love. They were also a symbol of Jewish nationalism, an expression of the people’s de-sire for political freedom.
The tears Jesus shed as the people cried out their political “Hosannas” were tears of grief. Jesus may have foreseen the terrible devastation of Jerusalem that was to come. Maybe those tears reflected his recent encounter with Lazarus whom he raised from the dead. Could his tears have reflected his foresight that the people, when given the choice, would choose death instead of life?
(today’s text is adapted from one found at http://www.christ-community.net)
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION & EXAMEN: