Friday, 03 April 2020 15:30

Palm Sunday of the Passion

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Some years ago, I visited the Pro Hart Gallery in Broken Hill. Tucked up in the upper reaches of the gallery, was a painting quite different to the others.

On a sunset coloured wash, it depicted Christ weighed down with carrying his cross. Behind him straggled a ragtag bunch of humanity – the elderly, a child with only one leg on crutches, a man with a machine gun and many, many others. This painting stopped me in my tracks! It almost looked like a pen and ink sketch but for me the impact was enormous. Sure, it depicted Christ carrying the cross but the amazing element for me was that it presented the polyglot of people caught up in the Easter story and brought home to me the enduring relevance of the Passion here and now, for all of us.

If we were to create a similar picture, which figures would it contain? Perhaps it would include the people of Syria, the Rohingya refugees, the refugees flooding into Europe, the elderly without support systems, people living in abusive relationships, people whose sexuality does not fit ‘the norm’, kids who are sick and hungry, workers for the common good with very limited resources, the down-and-out beggars on city streets, people who do not receive a fair wage for their work, people who cannot find work, people in ‘Detention Centres’, people under repressive regimes – be it in their country, their workplace or their home. The list seems endless.

What about the people in Jesus’ time? At least some of them were expecting a triumphal Messiah who would overthrow oppression with arms and flaring battles. Not what they got. Instead they had a rabbi who emptied himself of everything.

What about the ordinary people in western civilisation in our own time? Are we misguided in our expectations too? Are we selling out to the lie that more and more is better as we live under the yoke of corporate greed, which causes jobs to disappear and dreams to disintegrate?

Are we any different to the people of Jesus’ time who waved palms and yelled out, “Hosanna”? Are we any different to the crowd that screamed, ‘Crucify him!’

Instead of a superhero, we have a man who looks at the ragtag of humanity and still says to us ‘This is my body.’

The Easter story is worth remembering, re-telling, re-imaging, because it is the story of all of us in one way or another.

Christine Wade

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