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Sunday, April 2, 2023 Palm Sunday

The sermon will be a post on our Facebook page. Please click on link to view sermon.

True Humility

The servanthood of a teacher in Isaiah, the outcast in the psalm, those who bow down in Philippians: today’s readings teach humility. On this day we move from Christ’s triumphant ride on a humble donkey to the humiliation of the cross. The humility of the characters in the passion story is in question: Judas, Pilate, the Twelve, chief priests and elders, Barabbas, the crowd, the soldiers, two bandits. Among other things, their lack of humility is what brings about the passion of Christ. There is only one truly humble person in this story: Jesus the Christ. Matthew’s humble Jesus cries out from the cross to ask God why he has been forsaken.

Only in the stories of the resurrection do other humble characters appear: the centurion, the women, Joseph of Arimathea. A careful look at the complexity of humility in the palm and passion stories could set up a reflective theme carried through to Easter. Who in each story do we regard as humble? Why? How does our humility compare? Are there characters who seem to gain or lose humility in the course of the story from the triumphant entry to the resurrection? A deep and meaningful understanding of humility is a worthy and lasting gift to take away from the season of Lent and the celebration of Easter.

Joseph of Arimathea is a particularly good character on which to base an understanding of humility. A close look at all references to him in the Gospels, and a bit of creative narrative, create an image of a truly humble believer. He is referenced in both canonical and apocryphal texts. His devotion represents deep humility that leads to the very finest of good works as he cares for the body of Jesus.

Gospel: Matthew 26: 6-13

While Jesus awaits his arrest a woman anoints his head with oil.

6Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 8But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? 9For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” 10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. 13Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”