March Madness

courtesy of Google Images
Jesus entering Jerusalem, courtesy of Google Images

Pastoral Prayer for Palm/Passion Sunday March 24, 2013

Holy God,

In Christ, You came into the city of Jerusalem, humbly riding atop a peasant’s donkey

From the west, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate entered the city pompously riding in a chariot at the head of a column of imperial cavalry and soldiers

Your people cut palm branches and waved them in the air to proclaim the kingdom of God
The Roman army drew swords and held them high to command awe, fear and allegiance to Caesar

You came to show the people God’s unconditional mercy and love for all.

Pilate comes to demonstrate Roman imperial power and might over all.

You came non-violently to heal and to give to others

Pilate came to violently rule and take from others

And we watch, helplessly, as these two kingdoms, head toward a confrontation–one so great that the curtain of the temple will be torn in two (from top to bottom), the earth will shake and the rocks will split, and the tombs will open and the dead will rise and appear in the city.

We watch, helplessly, as You walk humbly and silently toward your execution by the Roman Empire and the powers of this world.

We watch helplessly as we see Your suffering embodied in our daily lives–people who are starving from hunger; considering suicide after years of horrendous bullying; aching from the beatings by their spouses; agonizing over another night on the human trade market, clutching their hears because their toddler was shot and killed during a robbery.

We watch all of this madness. It. is. all. madness. … March madness!

And we wrestle deeply with our role in this madness of life and in remembering Your maddening final days on earth–

a time of killing and healing,

weeping and laughing,

seeking and losing,

tearing and sewing,

betraying and redeeming,

loving and hating

How will we be affected by this Holy Week of time?

How will we be shaped by this madness, this March madness?

Only you know O Lord. Only You know.

In our helplessness, in our anxiety, in our joyful cries of HOSANA and our angry shouts to CRUCIFY

in our madness, sadness and longing to know what you have us to do…hear our prayers:

Bless the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Bless those who mourn, for they will be comforted

Bless the meek, for they will inherit the earth

Bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled

Bless the merciful, for they will receive mercy

Bless the pure in heart, for they will see God

Bless the peacemakers, for the will be called children of God

Bless those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Bless each and every one of us with the reminder that we are buried with Jesus through baptism into death so that we may live a new life

lived in freedom from imperial oppression and freedom for the loving just ways of

Your kingdom

Your loving and grace-filled madness (and never ours)

Forever and ever,

Amen.

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