This April we will look to the four gospels as we approach and move through this Easter season. Our upcoming April sermons also have me thinking about spring. We can see that spring has sprung! The flowers will soon burst from the ground with color and aroma. The birds return with their early morning song, while the days grow longer. With our senses engaged, we wander out of our huddled huts and wear brighter colors.
This is the resurrection season! The season of new life, second chances, and yet another chance to encounter God with us. Once you have encountered God, every other encounter with the world can be framed by the experience of God with us. When we encounter our living God, whose life was poured out, we often cannot help to seek ways that we too can pour out.
Some are like Mary in John 12, pouring out all she had, a years’ worth of wages: that is some expensive perfume! This pouring out of Nard was her way of encountering and responding to Jesus presence. So, for some of us, we want to give back, directly pouring out our support to various missionaries and non-profits. This allows us to support those working in ministry when we cannot do this work ourselves. For Mary, this also meant prioritizing the salvific ministry of Jesus, even above the constant needs of the poor.
However, even the poor who have encountered God will often yearn to do the same. We see a powerful witness from the poor widow of Mark 12 who gave pocket change, which was all she had to her name. She is responding to God’s providence in her life, even despite quite evident hardship. Likewise, we see something similar with Jesus procession into Jerusalem.
The owner of the colt was willing to give their colt to the disciples because it was for God’s purposes. The never been ridden colt, an animal who was not yet trained in carrying a rider, was willing to carry Jesus into a crowded and loud Jerusalem entrance. Likewise, the coats of the people, a sole daily carry item, (like our modern day cellphones, wallet, keys, etc.) they would lay down their coats, all they had with them, as they encountered and received Jesus Christ.
Even those with nothing would shout Hosanna, tearing branches off palm trees, so that they would have something, anything, to lay down before the son of God! The authorities, (Pharisees) would demand that Jesus would command them to be quiet, but he assures them that even the rocks would cry out. We cannot contain our excitement! We cannot help ourselves! We have encountered the son of God, our living hope! We have encountered God with us, God for us, God taking our place and taking care of us!
In this sensational season, let us use all our senses. For we are invited to witness and give witness to God with us. In this season of growth and emergence, may you walk alongside Jesus Christ. May you seek to reclaim the whole and holy image of God! Amen!