Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
April 14, 2019
Even though it has the potential to impact global financial security, I haven’t learned much more about BREXIT other than what I’ve read in headline news.
After a rather spirited campaign, the people of Great Britain voted to withdraw from the European Union. The very next morning, there were widespread reports of what was being labeled “buyer’s remorse.” Energized by a spirit of nationalism and patriotism, BREXIT prevailed, the voters apparently not having given much thought to the consequences. The months that have followed seem to clearly demonstrate that not even their leaders, who rallied the forces in favor of BREXIT, had really worked out what was to come next. I don’t know much more about Brexit than that. But what I do know leaves me thinking that the British people acted very impulsively.
Psychologists identify five “behavioral stages” which characterize impulsivity. There is an impulse which leads people to consider a certain course of action. Thereafter comes what is called a “growing tension.” Should I or shouldn’t I? Then a sense of pleasure from actually doing whatever the impulse is leading you towards sets in. Next comes a feeling of relief from having made a decision and acted. Finally, for some people anyway, the process ends with a sense of guilt; in other words, impulsive behavior very often leads to “buyer’s remorse.”
It seems like this pattern of human behavior applies to the BREXIT crisis. Possibly, it might also explain how the people of Jerusalem could move so quickly from shouting “HOSANNAH!” on Sunday, only to drop their palms and raise their fists and voices on Friday…shouting out “CRUCIFY HIM!”
It was an evil impulse on the part of those most challenged by Jesus’s message of justice, peace, and love…an overpowering impulse to silence Him once and for all. They began a campaign to influence the people who were actually in most need of The Good News. There had to have been a great tension between what those poor, marginalized, and hungry folks had seen and heard as they followed The Lord, and what the dark forces were telling them. It is hard to imagine, but somehow the memory of the miracles, and the comfort and hope that they felt through His teaching and preaching were pushed to the back of their minds and hearts. Sin won the day, and what had been a welcoming crowd of followers changed quickly into a bloodthirsty mob.
They experienced a wave of pleasure as Pilate freed the mobster Barabbas and bound Jesus over to the soldiers to begin His death march through their city. Maybe they felt relief once He was out the city gates and fastened securely to The Cross up on the rocky hill…an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of thing. But, in truth, they couldn’t get Jesus totally out of their minds. He IS The Eternal Word of our Living God, and every human being is born into time with a whisper of His promise of Eternal life. It’s that whisper…that promise …that no human being can ever totally escape no matter how loud and convincing the dark voices become.
And after the heavens opened…and the earth quaked…and the dead roamed the city…and the veil of the Temple was torn in two. After all these signs…they felt guilt. At least some of them felt guilt…all because of the inability to control an impulse.
But here is the remarkable thing…THE IMPULSE that caused salvation history to move from Palm Sunday to Good Friday was not bad human behavior. It was the Divine impulse that all should be saved. God’s impulsive behavior, the Divine impulse to forgive, to heal, to re-create, to raise up…THAT’s what was at work in all of this. It was our Creator’s impulse that ensures that every Good Friday gives way to Easter Glory! And there is no buyer’s remorse.