Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian
#Recapitulation is the reflection for March 20, 2016. With the coming of Jesus, everything is in the process of being “re-spoken” and renewed. Where does humanity belong in all of this and what does it mean for our everyday life? Listen here: Download it into your phone. #MSAWordfortheDay # MySpiritualAdvisor #Sermon #Recapitulation #Renewal #Narrative #Evil #Overcoming #AllThingsNew
Recapitulation: A Reflection on Luke 19 and Luke 23
Full Text of Podcast, Open Here
For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 3/20/2016 Palm/Passion Sunday.
Please pause this audio and read Luke 19:28-40 and Luke 23:1-49.
Is it lost on anyone that when God wanted to kill someone, there were plenty of conspirators in leadership to manipulatively agree to his plan; but when he wants to heal someone, we need to investigate “the truth”? I just wondered if anyone noticed that little detail here.
Did anyone notice, too, that Jesus’ life is just one remaking of what happened in the fall of humanity after another? This, is re-capitulation. It is a “repeating and renewing” of creation. For example, when God created the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1, he “spoke.” When he wanted to repeat the creation, or renew creation, he sent the Word made flesh to dwell among us. When Adam and Eve committed the original sin by counting themselves able to decide that what God had told them, vis-à-vis not to eat of the Tree of Life, Jesus on the other hand did ‘not count equality with God as something to be grasped.’
We should notice that the entry into Jerusalem on what we now call ‘Palm Sunday’ is a restating of what it means to be a king. If we look back at 1 Samuel 8, we can see that Israel demanded from Samuel that they have a king. Why? They wanted a king because Samuel’s sons, Joel and Abijah, were nepotisticaly judging Israel.
So, what is the answer to bad leadership? Apparently to Israel, it is to demand a king who will give us more of the same! Rather than accept the kingship of God, the people wanted an earthly king, one who they seemed not to care would take from them, abuse them, and rule over them.
It just seemed to get lost on them that God’s kingship had provided deliverance from slavery in Egypt, establishment of them as a nation in a new land, not to mention giving them bread and meat every day for forty years along the way. No, instead, they demanded a king so that they could be like every other nation around them. They didn’t understand that because they were and are “The People of God”, they weren’t like everyone around them.
Notice how, in stark contrast to Pilate, Herod, the Chief Priests, and elders, that Jesus is not about abuse of power, grandiose mockery, the preservation of his own political life. Notice how he is silent as God transforms all of this evil and uses it, to accomplish his own ends. The King of kings and Lord of lords stands silent in the face of a corrupt lord, an unjust conviction, a brutal use of force, and an empty condemnation.
No one can see the Lord transform these seemingly evil events. No one can perceive how the Father in Heaven is going to use the sin and defiance of humanity to defeat defiance and sin itself. Look at it, it is execution, the basest form of execution, that humanity throws at God and it looks to everyone that power, corruption, yes, evil has won again. The Passion part of Sunday, which is a preview of Good Friday due to low church attendance on that somber and sobering day, the Passion part is truly connected to the Palm part of Sunday. The Kingship of Jesus, on a colt, with a few followers, who will desert him in the face of all that the power of the world and Satan have to throw at him, is a kingship of service. It is a shepherding that lays down its life for the sheep. It is a physician who heals everyone of our ills. It is a deliverer who delivers us from the grave. We know that because we know the end of the story. We know about what happens on Easter, that is, next Sunday.
In the readings for today, though, we are not yet to resurrection. We are stuck on death. We are stuck on death of a dream. It is the death of a hope. It is the death of a group of people who thought that power had won again. So, is that where you are? Are you at a place in life where you didn’t ever imagine that you would be in this place? Are you lonely? Do you think all hope is lost? Are you wondering why God has forgotten you?
If you are a Christian, this recapitulation, this recreating, this re-speaking, renewing, narrative of the history of humanity is your narrative. You fit in here because by baptism you have been grafted into the body of Jesus Christ, which is also the Church. Your life is in this narrative because you are part of the people of God. You have a king that no one sees. You have a kingship that is rooted in service. You may have a life that looks for all to see as being full of hardship, knock after knock, blow after blow, where the victor is always “power,” or evil, but that is not what is happening. God is and will take the evil around you and transform it into victory.
The Lord is all about renewal. He gives us Baptism for new birth. He gives us Confession to be renewed by absolution. He gives us renewed bodies through Unction/Anointing with oil. He gives us renewal through our marital partners. He gives us renewal through prophets and priests who proclaim his word. He gives us renewal through the constant life giving Bread and Cup of the Eucharist. He gives us renewal through our communities of faith that pray for us, uphold us in love, and give us life. He renews, renews, and renews, after we screw it up over, and over, and over again.
So, why do we get morose or angry at our political situation? Why do we get angry or violent over our family situation? Why do we get overwhelmed by our financial situation? Why do we fight over our church situation? The message of the Cross is that no matter what the world thinks it has on you, it doesn’t. Just let them talk. The message of the Cross is that no matter how much the world tries to kill your heart, it can’t. The message of the Cross is that no matter how unjust the world wants to get at you, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because when all looks lost, like it did with Jesus on the Cross, God is just getting started.
Give it a day. Give it three days, so to speak. Give it time for the Holy Spirit to move, shake, and take what is looking hopeless around you and Cross it. Cross it? Yes, take the death of whatever it is on the cross and make whatever it is new again. The Father in Heaven is doing a new thing, can you perceive it? Can you imagine it? Neither could the disciples and you are living proof that the Lord was not done with them on that Passion Sunday either. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2016.