Blessings & Betrayals
We're coming upon Holy Week. What starts as a giant celebration filled with blessings from the people for Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem turns all too quickly into betrayals as events begin blazing a trail to the cross. At first, the disciples are with the crowd, celebrating Jesus’ arrival and calling out “Hosanna in the highest!” Only a few days later, the crowds begin jeering and the disciples begin denying, turning away, and even betraying their beloved friend, teacher and master, Jesus. How does a story change so quickly? How do cheering followers become scattered sheep? This is one of the most enigmatic and yet common aspects of human community. We are not always consistent followers. We are not always loyal companions. We are not always dependable disciples. And yet, God partners with us anyway. Perhaps God chooses us as partners because of our capacity for extreme movement and our ability to shift quickly—the very traits that allow us to abandon and betray God and one another are the same traits that can lead us to create amazing possibilities with God and one another. The same distractions and daydreams that can cause us to lose focus and wander aimlessly can also inspire and propel us to leap forward with new energy and enthusiasm. The same doubts and questions that can lead us to abandon God’s path can also lead us to seek new pathways and possibilities for living into God’s future. The same fears and insecurities that can lead us to run away and abandon God can also lead us to lean on one another and depend on God to strengthen our journey. And so, the disciples scatter, abandoning and even denying Jesus. Yet, those same disciples become the apostles who will build and lead the first communities of believers who become “the church.” Even at our worst, God is still working in and through us. Even when we wander furthest and scatter to the winds, God’s Spirit is present within and around us, ever ready to receive our partnership and to continue on our journeys together.