In their fine work, The Last Week, New Testament scholars Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan inform us that the paths humans can choose to follow are laid utterly bare on Palm Sunday.
On this day, Jesus actually staged a planned protest against the powers and principalities of the world—the choice is stark and ours to make as well. Humans love parades, and powers-that-be love parades for their egos—not so long ago an American president pined for a military parade in his honor—which he did not get–so we are not unfamiliar with parades in our world either.
Jesus chose a parade not of the powerful and powerbrokers, but riding on a donkey. His was a mockery and satire on the parades of the powerful. It started out joyfully and even humorously on Palm Sunday with the ordinary people cheering him on waving palms. But it did not end well five days later. In the short run.
The message was heard, however. Make a choice: The way of the powerful or the way of the poor.
This Palm Sunday, 2021, there are equally stark choices facing us. One political party in America, for reasons that are totally inexplicable other than that power is their god and holding onto power at all costs is their idol, have chosen to abandon our democratic government of 245 years by reinstating Jim Crow voting laws today.
Dressed up in clean suits, 7 men—all white—standing below a painting of a plantation that owned hundreds of slaves in years past, signed into law this week a bill that is the opposite of government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” The reason why Georgia and the rest of the Confederacy fought and lost a Civil War in the first place.
We have been told why they are doing this—because if they live by the rules, the republicans, as currently constituted by the sorest loser in history, won’t win any more elections. No proposal to debate new ideas to solve America’s problems. Just a signing of a document that puts into law the obvious disenfranchisement of descendants of slaves in America. An old story. An old evil that we naively thought was behind us.
Evil is not an abstraction. Nor is racism. Nor is killing a democracy, however needy it is to renew itself.
Like Jesus’s parade/procession, every American citizen has a choice to make on this Palm Sunday, 2021. Which parade to join? That of the democracy-killers? Or a parade that seeks racial justice, economic justice, eco-justice, gender justice, gender preference justice which recognizes sexual diversity that the Creator and creation have devised over millions of years?
(Unfortunately, Pope Francis flunked that choice recently; one hopes, on Palm Sunday in Lent, that he might repent and quit peddling homophobic and other sexual neuroses of Augustine, etc. and his empire and instead join the parade and teachings of Jesus on behalf of the anawim, those without a voice.)
See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.
How do you apply the alternative parade/procession that Jesus offers us on this Palm Sunday, in Lenten season of 2021? And on evil choices facing us at this time in history?