It's taken me some years to realize it, but Jesus didn't just happen to be in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. He wasn't on vacation. He wasn't just hanging out in town. Jesus was in Jerusalem on purpose. He arrived in Jerusalem about the time of the Passover when pilgrims were in the city. When people's hopes and expectations for the dawn of freedom that Moses had promised in the first Passover might suddenly be realized for them in their time.
Jesus arranged his entrance into Jerusalem to send a message. He entered the city, having come in on one side of the city, the scholars tell us, at just about the same time that Pontius Pilate made his entrance on the exact opposite side of the city. Pilate, coming forth on a warhorse. Pilate, with soldiers around him. Pilate, with the insignias of Rome's Empire. Pilate, representing the Caesars who claimed to be son of god. Pilate, who had conquered through Rome the people of Jerusalem. Pilate, representing the Empire that had taken away their freedom. Pilate, who represented the Empire that would maintain the colonial status of the Jewish people by brute force and violence.
Jesus entered the city on the other side, not on a warhorse, but on a donkey, recalling the words of Zechariah:
Behold your King comes to you
Triumphant and victorious is He
Humble and riding on a donkey
Jesus entered the city at the same time as Pilate to show them, and to show us, that God has another way. That violence is not the way. That hatred is not the way. That brute force and brutality are not the way.
Jesus came to show us there is another way. The way of unselfish, sacrificial love. That's why he entered Jerusalem. That's why he went to the cross. It was the power of that love poured out from the throne of God, that even after the horror of the crucifixion would raise him from death to life.
God came among us in the person of Jesus to start a movement. A movement to change the face of the earth. A movement to change us who dwell upon the earth. A movement to change the creation from the nightmare that is often made of it into the dream that God intends for it.
He didn't just happen to be in Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday. He went to Jerusalem for a reason. To send a message. That not even the titanic powers of death can stop the love of God. On that Easter morning, he rose from the dead, and proclaimed love wins.
So you have a blessed Easter. Go forth to be people of the Resurrection. Follow in the way of Jesus. Don't be ashamed to love. Don't be ashamed to follow Jesus.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Christmas message
"This child came to show us how to change the world," Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Christmas Message 2016. "So this Christmas, make room for Him to change us. This Christmas help us change the world."
Emmanuel welcomed the Reverend Dr. Theodore Johnson as preacher and celebrant at this morning's service of the Holy Eucharist. Dr. Johnson, who currently resides in Basye, Virginia, has devoted much of his ministry to congregational development.
Prior to the morning service, Dr. Johnson led the Adult Bible Class in a discussion of the context and manner in which Jesus acquired his first disciples as told in the Gospel of John (1:29-42).
Dr. Johnson's homily expanded on the dual notions of time used by the Greeks (the language of the New Testament): chronos - time as measured by the clock, and kairos or cosmic time, those moments when God speaks to us and time seems to stand still. John the Baptizer's calling out Jesus to his (John's) disciples - "Look, here is the Lamb of God!" - in verse 36 appears to have been one of those kairos moments. Andrew and the other disciple immediately took up with Jesus as the one whom they should follow.
Following the service of Holy Eucharist, parishioners and friends gathered for refreshments in the Parish Hall to visit with Dr. Johnson as well as friends and neighbors. Thanks to the Vestry for arranging Dr. Johnson's visit and Alice Coles for coordinating the bountiful refreshments.
Dr. Johnson engages Langhorne Jones and Garrie Thompson in conversation.