Holy Week – Letting Go of Death and Holding on to Life
April 5, 2020
by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor
So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn't listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.
Jesus brings life abundantly. God never skimps or withholds. Over and over again, we see Jesus offering more than enough for everyone. His first sign at Cana affords us a glimpse of the lavishness yet to come. Lots of really good wine is emblematic of how Jesus operates. He will feed the crowds, all will be satisfied, there will be baskets of food left over. Living water overflows. Forgiveness will be granted to tax collectors and adulterous women. Those blind from birth will see. Lazarus, dead and buried, will walk out of the grave. Heavenly banquets will host those formerly living on the streets and lost sheep will be sought, found and reunited with the flock.
Abundance, not scarcity, defines the Kingdom of God. Lavishness, not parsimony,
reflects the character of Christ. Generosity, not meanness, marks the community of
Jesus. As we move closer to Jerusalem, the gratuitous love of God comes into clear
focus. Truly, there is nothing God will not do to put us in right relationship and bring
reconciliation. God is trustworthy. Jesus leads us to green pastures. We do not need to hoard our resources or hold back our feelings. We, like the Shepherd who leads us, can be generous with all we have, all we are, sharing widely, loving wildly, living abundantly.
On Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday, wave your palm unabashedly, throw your cloak
on the road without worry, shout “Hosanna!” loudly, follow Jesus closely, knowing that God holds nothing back from the world, so we can joyously give our all in return.
Hosanna in the highest, we praise you without reserve and with all we have. Accept our shouts, our palms, our cloaks and our worship even knowing our propensity to turn away from suffering. You forgive our fickle following from the cross and we marvel at the abundance of your grace, your mercy, your sacrifice that gives us life abundantly. Amen.
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