Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever. Ezekiel 37
The Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we to do,” they said, “with this man performing all sorts of signs? If we let him go on like this, the whole world will believe in him. Then the Romans will come in and sweep away our sanctuary and our nation.” From that day onward there was a plan afoot to kill him. In consequence, Jesus no longer moved about freely. he withdrew instead to a town called Ephraim in the region near the desert. John 11
These are the readings that lead us into Palm Sunday and the beginning of a holy week that includes Palm Sunday, the First Day of Passover, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. The Jewish Passover and the Christian Holy Week are both set by the season and tides of a Full Moon.
And yet, there’s been a historical battle between Christians and Jews for eons. God promises a covenant of peace to humans, but humans can’t seem to return the promise. Nations live in the whipsaw of war and peace; humans live in the whipsaw of anger and acceptance.
In short, I’m thinking about killing and peace this morning. And I’m wondering how all the conflicting messages fit together. How is it that God’s promises have led to so much killing? Life on earth is built on killing: plants, animals, and humans kill and are killed. We are a people who kill to survive and we are a people who yearn for peace.
In the reading from Ezekiel, God promises a covenant of peace to the Israelites in exile. “I will take the Israelites from among the nations to which they have come, and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.”
Didn’t God know that in the centuries when Israelites wandered everywhere except Israel, that people called Palestinians would make it home? How can God’s promises and covenants through the messengers, whether Ezekiel or Mohammed or Jesus, be right? How can all the conflicting messages be right?
There must be so much we don’t understand about this God of ours. How does that energy of God hold within its completeness and balance all the conflicting claims from people, all the confusion over who’s right, all the complexities and fears? And how to make sense of the dictums that if we don’t follow the conflicting demands, we are condemned?
This week we celebrate the dichotomy of death and rebirth, of light and darkness, of wandering and coming home, of sadness and joy: one cannot exist without the other. Perhaps our human condition is based on extremes so that we can understand the value of balance.
Find your balance today between the demands of life and the needs of your spirit. Find the balance today between activity and quiet. If a thousand angels can dance on the head of a pin, surely we can learn to dance on two legs.