Palm Sunday Expectations of a Savior
The journey of Holy Week starts with the joy and party spirit of Palm Sunday. The expectations at the start of the journey will go quickly downhill to the cross and on to the dark tomb before Easter morning shines.
There is no way to the empty tomb but by way of the cross. Psalms 23 long ago reminded people that you must travel “through the valley of the shadow of death” before you can reach the other side. We travel from Vice to Virtue. But the journey to the virtue can never be reached except by letting go of the vice to take hold of a new life in Jesus. Our vices will never get us to our deepest desires; in fact they make it impossible. We must go through the cross, by surrender of our self-imposed control to God’s will. We have to learn to let go of the need for what we have determined we must have.
The turmoil that blocks us comes out of our own expectations. When we discover how to let go of our habitual belief in what we think we know, then we begin the road to freedom. What we want, what we deeply desire and what we settle for leaves us longing for authenticity in our life.
If your deepest Desire (Virtue) is – You may try to get there by (Vice). . . .
Serenity, a peace that passes understanding – you may try to get there by enforcing a pseudo-peace with rules and regulations. Being a perfectionist you will not get to Serenity until you learn to let go of resentment and realize your focus on seeing faults must open to allow yourself to see the good that is present.
Humility, to be loved for your true inner self – you may try to get there by gathering idle praise and affection. Being full of pride that you don’t need anyone else, you won’t get to Humility until you see that you are as needy as others; it is not a failing to need someone or something. You can express your inner self with a freedom of the spirit of Humility.
Honesty, to be loved for who you are – you may try to get there driven by an energy that you must succeed and earn approval. As you perform one task, you continually need another task to feel worthy; so stop and see that you do not have to earn another’s love, it is freely given. You are loved for “being” who you are, not “doing” who you are.
Balance, the perfect relationship – you may continue to work to deserve what you can’t truly see, longing for what is always out of reach. The envy of always missing out will drive you to grief, if you would only stop, look and appreciate what you have in life instead of focusing on what you don’t have. You stand in the midst of holy if you will only open your eyes.
Nonattachment, valuing true abundance – you may try to get there by hoarding the intellectual riches and ideas you believe will give you security in what you have. The greed that drives you to collect and keep needs to perceive that less is often more fulfilling.
Faith, that everything is alright – you may try to get there by living without fear. You either run from situations that cause anxiety, or you run toward it to rise above such puny dread, defying life to hurt you. Faith breaks through when you recognize fear is more in your mind than in the world that touches you. Then you can courageously step forward in true knowing.
Satisfaction, that you have enough – you may try to get it by always doing, seeing, planning for more to fill in a perceived emptiness. The fear of missing out and being limited by life only exacerbates your need for more. The need for more is a race to avoid pain and boredom through rationalizing your motives. What is needed is recognition to stop, cut back and enjoy the beauty of commitments and sober work.
Justice, for yourself and others – you may try to impose your own sense of justice on everyone. There is a rush to make things work, to protect and take revenge for the innocent. Recognizing and accepting your own vulnerability is key to finding the road to justice and grace endowed from within.
Harmony/Unity, a sense of belonging to all – you may accept a false sense of harmony by ignoring the problem, going to sleep to let time make the decisions. Dropping the comfort of false unity empowers you to take right action and participate in your own transformation.
So how do you reach your deepest desire?
· Let go of the methods you are using to keep your vice in place. (Spiritual Disciplines)
· Recognize how you are settling for second best.
· Practice opening your eyes to see life from a fuller realm of possibilities
· Ask God to help you see and perceive personal habits that cause you harm.
· Live in the present moment; not in the past, not in the future, and not in your imagination.