Monday, March 14, 2016

Palm Sunday 2016

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


"I am enchanted by the Sermon on the Mount.  Being merciful...
is the only good idea we have received so far...

I asked an Episcopalian priest the other day what I should
say to you about Palm Sunday itself...She told me to say
it was a brilliant satire on pomp and circumstance...

This has no doubt been a silly sermon.

I am sure you do not mind.

People don't come to church for preachments, of course,
but to daydream about God.

I thank you for your sweetly faked attention."

Kurt Vonnegut

(Excerpts from his Palm Sunday sermon at NYC's
St. Clement's Episcopalian Church in 1980)




Preface 1.

    I hope Kathie posts this on by Tuesday and Hans posts it on pretty soon after that.

    While I'm a homiletics professor and undershepherd who knows those last two paragraphs above by Vonnegut are the predominant reality on Sunday mornings, I know lots of pulpiteers really try to say something worth something when the assigned hour rolls around.

    Vocational aspiration.

    Anyway, I also know folks lift liberally from others without footnotes.

    It's called plagiarism...if you're caught.

    Ask Joe Biden.

    Ask almost any preacher or politician or talk show host or...

    I'm reminded of an ecclesiastical superior who called many years ago and said he had just read something that sounded an "awful" lot like me.

    He read it to me.

    I said, "Yeah, I wrote that."

    He said, "___, your former associate at ___, copied it word for word and included it in his resume that came across my desk because he is looking at a church in our presbytery.  What do you want me to do about it?"

    I said, "Say that I'm flattered; but considering no one listens to what I say, reads what I write, or buys books that I've written..."


    Preface 2.

    You probably didn't read the KD on anonymity.

    Obviously, the anonymous person who left an article for me this past Sunday about "The Biblical Alternative to Easter" didn't either.

    It was put on my desk between services.

    I forgot to lock the door.

    Well, it's your typical thing written by somebody who thinks people like me don't think about the traditions that have built up around Christmas and Easter and Pentecost and...that are only coincidental to the historical Jesus and Biblical revelation.

    I guess the anonymous person who left it for me doesn't think I think about that kinda stuff.

    She/he assumes I'm as ignorant as everybody else.

    Could be.


    I've just been scratching the surface of my reborn relationship with Jesus since October 2011.

    Depending upon the grace of God, truth is I do my best.

    It's never enough for...but I do my best.

    I sleep well.

    Remember, I'm a Psalm 62 kinda guy.


    So here are a few notes on Palm Sunday for pulpiteers who have no problems lifting liberally without footnotes; and people prone to leaving anonymous notes to enlighten their...


    Expectations and reality don't always match up.

    That was the problem on that first Palm Sunday.

    Come to think of it, not much has changed.

    There's the real Jesus and the imagined or reimagined one.


    Truth is that first Palm Sunday was a ticker tape travesty.

    People were hootin' and hollerin' their hosannas for all the wrong reasons.

    What they wanted who He was/is didn't match up.


    With thanks to Robert McAfee Brown who wrote about the major misunderstandings in The Bible Speaks to You back in 1955, a first century Gallup Poll may have looked like this:

    "FIRST MAN (very matter of factly): 'Me?  I'm looking for a descendent of David, to come and rule the way King David did.  Those were the days!  We had land, food, prestige, and a great king.  Someday God will send another David who will rule over us.  Then we'll have peace and justice, and the enemy will be destroyed.  I only hope he comes soon.'

    SECOND MAN (with a snarl): 'I don't know just how we'll recognize the Messiah, but I can tell you this.  He'll be a great warrior.  He'll push those blasted Romans back into the sea, and we'll have our own land once again, without a bunch of foreigners ruling us, taking all our money in taxes and keeping us poor.  I'll join up with his army first thing, and we'll hatch a revolution that will smash the Romans to bits.'

    THIRD MAN (rather wild-eyed): 'No, it won't be as easy as that.  We're in too deep for any mere man to deliver us.  Our only hope lies in a heavenly creature, sent down from the clouds of heaven, with legions of angels.  The sort of thing the Book of Daniel talks about.  He'll smite the oppressive Romans and deliver us from them, and then set up his heavenly kingdom right here in Palestine.  That's the only thing that can save us.'"

    Opinions are like...

    Everybody's got least.

    Sometimes, even in churches that should know better, truth and opinions are often confused.


    Expectation was the Messiah would shed the blood of the bad guys.

    Truth was Jesus shed His blood as the price of securing our eternal life and confident living between now and then.


    Two thousand years later, too many folks in churches that should know better are blinded to the truth by bunnies, bonnets, eggs, and jeweled-studded-shiny-silver crosses.


    Maybe that's why so many folks in churches that should know better give less than their best to the Master after He...


    Long ago, I heard an old guy say, "If you really want to tell the truth about Jesus in a way that they'll get, take the Easter Bunny and Santa and nail 'em to a cross in the sanctuary on Friday and tell 'em to see if anything happens to 'em in three days."

    Never done that.

    Never will.

    Depending upon the grace of God, I do my best...and remember those last two paragraphs above by Vonnegut.




Blessings and Love!


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