The gospel writer Luke tells the story about Jesus coming into Jerusalem on the back of a colt in a different way than what we usually think of. (Luke 19: 29-42) There are no Hosannas shouted, no palm branches waved, and only disciples in the crowd.

The usual reading for Palm Sunday which this year is April 5, stops with verse 40. However, I want to add just a couple of more verses. Verse 41 states: “As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it.”

Jesus came into the city, knowing that he was riding into the center of religious and political power, knowing that his message of “passion and compassion completely and irresistibly undermines the world of competence and competition.” [1] Jesus came into the city knowing that he was on a path of facing the most horrific suffering that a human being could suffer, knowing that his body would break because that’s what human bodies do. Even knowing all that, Jesus kept going.

And he wept. He cried over Jerusalem. He must have loved everything in the city with a love that we cannot even begin to understand.  The religious and political leaders needed to silence him. “The ones in charge of politics wanted to hold onto their crowns. The ones in charge of religion wanted to hold onto the keys to the church.” [2] Some of the crowds there for Passover wanted the spectacle of his death. And still he cried. He mourned and moaned, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!”

Can you hear Jesus crying for you and me? As we face a world that is unknown to most of us, do we experience Jesus’s tears? Do we hear Jesus’ word for us and then work for peace in community in all its forms? Do we seek ways to facilitate wholeness in our homes, our community, our country, and our world? Do we throw up our hands and say, “What can I do?” Do we close our eyes and refuse to see? Do we blame others and thus feel we have absolved ourselves of any responsibility? Do we delude ourselves that the world we lived in before this pandemic was a peaceful world, nation, community, or home? Do we want to return to that world or to a world where peace truly does reign, where life is abundant?  Do we hear Jesus weeping?



[1] Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination

[2] Ann Weems, Journey to Jerusalem, “Fair is Fair.”

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