Taking It All In

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It’s the evening of Palm Sunday. Today I preached a sermon on when Jesus, after entering Jerusalem in Mark 11, goes into the temple, looks at everything, and then leaves to meet with his friends. I can only imagine what Jesus was thinking as he entered the temple. The text tells us that it was late, so I imagine most of the people were gone.

Have you ever spent time in a sanctuary or holy place all by yourself? It can be both eerie and exhilerating all at the same time. It is amazing to walk into a space others consider holy and realize that in that space God has spoken to people’s hearts and souls. I can’t help but be in awe of these holy places.

My wife kind of laughs at me when we are on trips and I want to see the local churches. I love being in these spaces. Somehow, though I know no one who attends these churches, I feel connected not only to those who attend there at the time, but also to those who have passed through that place through its history. It’s exciting to think of when these churches were first formed. Many of the older churches across the country–especially in the East–many of them started with gatherings in a barn or an old school house. Somehow they were able to muster enough money to build a sanctuary. The time, money, and effort that went into building these communities and houses of worship is inspiring. Somehow God has spoken to these people and they heeded God’s voice and felt compelled to make some lasting memorial of this thing that had happened.

Jesus did something wonderful after the people welcomed him with their Hosannah’s. He went to the place that was the center of the people’s life together and took in all that history, all that tradition, all that God-speak. I wonder if he was sad in some way, though. After that week none of it was going to be the same. In fact, the world was never going to be the same. All that weighing on his shoulders. I really can’t imagine. Yet, somehow I want to be a part of it all. Somehow I want to take hold of what Jesus did and is doing and be a part of what God is doing here now–offering grace, hope, life, to all people everywhere. And, yes, God’s grace even extends to all the greedy and narrowminded folk who sought the short gain at the expense of our current world-wide economic catastrophe.

You want to know what I heard this morning during worship while I stood in our modern sanctuary with all those people gathered for the same thing but a thousand different reasons? I heard the fickleness of a crowd who cheers “Hosannah” today and “Crucify him” only a few days later. But somehow in the midst of all that, I heard the hope of a new tomorrow, the joy of an Easter renewal.

May God bless us is this Holy Week. May we take time to step in to those holy spaces in our lives and just take it all in. May we be overwhelmed by the wonder of it all!

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