Palm Sunday Sermon – March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday 2016 “ March 20

Luke 22:14-23:56

Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.

 

At some point as we read the Passion Narrative we see that Jesus has reached the tipping point. At some point along the way we see that there is simply no turning back for Jesus, no way that all this doesn’t lead to the crucifixion. Palm Sunday itself can be seen as the tipping point. Jesus enters Jerusalem humbly and riding on a colt, the very symbol of the poor and powerless. But Jesus enters purposefully. He knows where this will lead and he accepts his time. He accepts things as they are. He embraces the circumstances which he knows full well will lead to his own death. He comes to his tipping point and steps into it faithfully.

 

So is there a tipping point in your life right now? Is there something you’re being called to accept? Is there a struggle that has been brewing and now is inviting you to do more letting go and less holding on?

Acceptance seems like resignation. It feels like giving up. We talk about letting go as if it is something that doesn’t involve struggling. Acceptance does feel like great freedom but it always comes after a long and arduous struggle. Letting go of something is the exact opposite of not letting something get to us. Letting go is releasing something that has weighed us down for so long we know we just can’t continue any longer trying to hold it all together. Letting go is finally acknowledging just how powerless I am after I have spent a long, long time trying everything I can try. We struggle, we push and pull, we ask for God to take this burden away, we look for any way out we can find. And finally we see and know that we just can’t do it anymore so we stop. That often happens when something in our  world comes crashing down and we don’t have much choice other than accepting that things are too big for us. Sometimes that acceptance comes as we see that if we don’t do some letting go then things will eventually crash around us. But all of us have tipping points in our struggles, times where things have just gone a little too far and we can’t solve it by ourselves. It’s too big. It’s too hard. It’s been too heavy for too long and we just have to put it down.

Maybe it was easier for Jesus in that tipping point moment than it is for us. Or maybe it was just as hard for him. Scholars still argue about that. But clearly Jesus struggles.  Jesus has his journey. For a long while he says his time has not yet come. Today we read about him coming to that place of acceptance where he knows it is his time and he embraces it. He puts himself fully in God’s hands.

We’re not Jesus but we have a similar struggle, a similar journey. Regularly we are dealing with things that are bigger than us. We fight against cancer and then realize we can’t fight any longer. We try to shape our children and then realize it’s pretty much up to them. We try to resolve conflicts in relationships and then see we have absolutely no control over the people who are the most important to us. We  try to fix things or keep bad things from happening and then we reach a point where we know that’s just not possible. We come to a tipping point on a regular basis in this life and there, because of God’s grace, we have some options. We can keep trying to hold our little worlds up. Or we can accept that this is just bigger than I can ever be. We have the opportunity to turn things over to God and trust. We have the opportunity to turn our very hearts over and trust. It’s the hardest thing people are called to do. But each of us is called,  invited, to do it. And not just once. Almost daily we are called to turn it over, to put the next foot forward not knowing exactly what is going to happen.

The tipping point is not an easy place. But it is that mysterious little place in life where finally we can get out of the way and let what is truly good come in. Jesus embraces that moment and it leads to hardship and pain. But it leads to union with God. It leads to life richer and deeper than we have known before. Whatever your tipping point may be, be assured that God is in the mix.