When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. (Matthew chapter 27 verses 26-31)
We have been hearing of tanks getting ready to roll through Ukraine, almost at the same time we are reducing our M-1 tank divisions in Germany and Western Mass shootings, missing Malaysian Airline flight, devastating mud slides, wars continuing in Syria, Afghanistan and too many other places, Ebola disease rearing its ugly head in West Africa, famine, tornadoes, floods. Here is what Jesus calls us to do in response to tanks in the Ukraine, meth being sold on our streets, and the world changing in ways we weren’t expecting: Jesus says to you and to me: If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (Matthew chapter 10 verse 39)
How do we live our life for Jesus? I think NT Wright said it best for me: “What we all do with our bodies, our lives, in the present matters, because God has a great future in store for us. What we do in the present, by painting, baking cookies for inmates, singing in the community choir, writing a book, praying, teaching, fixing fences, digging wells, campaigning for justice, volunteering at the food bank, caring for the needy, loving our neighbor — will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less scary, or making life more bearable. They are part of what we call building for God’s kingdom. Jesus said: if you give up your life for me, you will find it. This is the message of Palm Sunday.
This is the message of the cross. We are invited to be living and holy sacrifices in the Kingdom of God on earth. I pray our children see hope in how we live. I hope they see hope for the future in how they see grown-ups in our community working together and building the Kingdom of God on earth.