Writing has slowed down much over the past few weeks because simply many times one does not have much to say, or even one simply lacks the ability to put thoughts into words. Today’s readings, the readings before palm Sunday, describe God separating the chosen people from their sins and their surroundings. The gospel follows a similar theme. It describes those that went to Mary after hearing of her Son’s works, and those who went to the Pharisees for the same reason. It is a theme of separation, of separation from God and of Gods desire to be united with his people. It also speaks of the division of nations. The reason the Pharisees attack Jesus is out of the fear that He will destroy their nation.
My mind wanders at this point to the history of the ancient Hebrews, a band of nomads traveling through out the earthly kingdoms of their day, and a band of nomads who eventually become enslaved by one of those powerful earthly kingdoms. In reminiscing about the ancient Hebrews, I think first of the ancient kingdoms around them. The pharaohs and their pyramids, and all of the great architecture of the day. There is the gold and the idols those civilizations fashioned from them, there is their complicated and ritualized set of beliefs. There are their artistic, and scientific achievements, their is their culture, their armies, and the simple size of these many kingdoms of the region. Imagery of that time reveals a large, flourishing , and spectacular society of that time complete with the pageantry of royalty. Their kings and queens were their gods. Then there is the ancient Hebrew.
The ancient Hebrew, the traveling worker. Poor and without a kingdom, a servant. They are a small band of nomadic tribes traveling throughout all of those kingdoms of the Pharaohs and their like. With them is the first separation. They are travelers, and poor, and do not bow down to the kings and queens. As a chosen people their numbers are small, and their physical attributes are as unassuming as their numbers. They are people living in tents amongst those dwelling in castles. Poor, proud , joyful people of the covenant. Then they become enslaved.
In Egypt they slave to build an earthly kingdom that is not their own. If they were impoverished before, they are oppressed now. They are a minority, looked down upon by royalty, overworked and under fed. Again they are separated, though this time they are imprisoned. In their enslavement I can see the violence committed against them, and I wonder about their thoughts regarding their oppressor. The good news is they gain freedom from their captors under the leadership of Moses. The bad news is that they bear the scars of enslavement and oppression. Those scars can become inflamed, and infected, and lead to the death of sin if left unattended. Those ancient Hebrews might have separated from their captors, but now they carry the baggage of that captivity. They are separated, but not truly free. I wonder how many people are stuck in this phase of a journey?
Journey now to tomorrows celebration, palm Sunday where Christ is hailed as the majesty of a new kingdom. His entry is into Jerusalem, the seat of the kingdom founded under the guidance of Moses. It is the seat of a kingdom promised when those Hebrews were led from Egypt, a kingdom of their own; but how much of that new kingdom contained the scars carried from Egypt? Certainly the people were delivered from a land of slavery, but did they really enter into the peace, and fullness of Gods promise? How easy is it for them, the ancient Hebrew, to forget oppression? How easy is it for an oppressed people today to do the same? There are a lot of people wandering about today carrying burdens of oppression and mistreatment; how easy is it for them, or for anyone, to let go of burdens tossed upon us? As Jesus enters into that city, his disciples see Him as leading them into their new kingdom just as Moses did for the generations before. How many though are willing to follow the Christ into that new kingdom, and leave their baggage and burdens behind?