Palm Sunday in the Diocese of Quincy
I had a challenging trip here on Friday. I went to the airport in
But the fascinating part of the trip had to do with some other passengers. I was sitting on the plane in
But I was struck by the image of a peaceful old woman in her wheelchair, a 91 year old beauty who waited patiently for whatever was going to happen. She wasnât worked up in the least â all the anxiety resided in her companion.
Jesus came to the outskirts of
And the country folk from the fields outside the gates of
But thatâs the kind of leader he is, turning ordinary expectations upside down. And before the week is out, the authorities will have noticed his uppity conceits and killed him for his trouble. Even the poor folk outside the city have turned against him by then. They wanted a rescuer, a military deliverer, and he will not be that for them. He says, if you want to join my parade, you have to come to
Jesusâ work is to join those who use wheelchairs, to cultivate a changed heart and a change of direction, rather than struggling to be the one in charge. Think for a moment about the different perspective and experience of someone who spends life in a wheelchair. I noticed it yesterday at the gathering of the synod. Several people needed to sit to have a conversation, even if they werenât using a wheelchair. The options if you want to talk are either to loom over that person, or squat down so that you can have a face to face conversation. If youâre lucky, you find a chair. The other person never gets to have face to face conversations unless the walking person sits down, but probably also gets to look children in the eye more than most adults do. What was it Jesus said about being like a child in order to enter the kingdom of heaven? Maybe even riding on a little colt with his feet dragging in the dust.
Jesus chose the wheelchair, and he let the soldiers burden him with a cross on the road to
That awareness of not being in control is what is leading to new life here. You waited, more or less patiently, until you heard Jesus say, get up and move. The perspective you gained from keeping your heads down, and sitting in a chair until the time was right, can be a gospel perspective to carry with you. What did you learn from looking at the world from that position, lower down? It just might give you some solidarity with those who live in that lower position all the time â not just people who literally ride in wheelchairs, but those who are quite literally at the mercy of others. You have learned something about the gift of going in company, and something about the presence of God in the dark nights of the garden. You have learned something from choosing to ride a colt â and youâve discovered the glories that come from pulling together to spread cloaks and set up chairs and put out signs. Several of you have told me how much more alive you feel in this place â only it isnât just the place, itâs the community, following Jesus, riding something different than you used to.
How will you go into