Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Palm/Passion Sunday

Jesus rides into the crowd on a donkey (John), no a horse (Mark and Luke), no both a horse and a donkey (Matthew)...

In a great case against literal interpretations of the bible, this is one of those stories that everyone has heard (the church going ones anyway). Yet, the details are a bit fuzzy. Like the oft overlook diversity that exists in the birth narratives.

What Jesus rode doesn't really matter, since the point is the irony of the glory that comes before the suffering pain and awefulness of the story that follows. It's that grand welcome, that end up being a trap like a good spy movie or episode of Scooby Do.

And there are still a good number of Christians continue the trap of over exaggerated welcome - followed by judgement, trial and death of individuality (and sometimes creativity and fun).

My dream is for a church that welcomes people, all people (especially those who disagree with me), and continues the welcome with the more gritty change and transformation that comes from staying in relationship. This means that we don't throw out our tradition with the bath water. I myself am a fan of reclaiming the roots of the tradition (which usually prove to be much more radical anything I could ever come up with) and rituals with an ability to also welcome and honor the new traditions and rituals that move people living today.

This week I visited First United Methodist in Vermillion (FUMV), South Dakota. The Human Rights Campaign sent me there as a part of the trainings about faith and gender identity that are happening in all the congressional districts that are needed to pass ENDA. I learned that this congregation in the midst of the "bible belt" where fundamentalism is an assumption, is a church practicing radical welcome. If it can happen here it can happen anywhere. I was also excited to learn that FUMV has a donkey at their Palm Sunday worship each year. They're still looking for one for this year, so if y9u've got a donkey to lend for a couple hours, I can't think of a better cause!

This Palm Sunday I will be preaching at the San Francisco Swedenborgian Church. It will be the second day of my annual street retreat (where I live on the streets of the tenderloin for 7 days and nights). Check out my street retreat blog to follow my journey through holy week. I will be riding neither a donkey or a horse (famous last words...).

No comments: