Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. I am reminded again, just as I am at Christmas, about the priority of Jesus for the Christian faith, and for my life. Here is how the Apostle Paul put it in one of the earliest faith convictions:
1 Corinthians 15: Brothers and sisters, I want to call your attention to the good news that I preached to you, which you also received and in which you stand. 2 You are being saved through it if you hold on to the message I preached to you, unless somehow you believed it for nothing. 3 I passed on to you as most important what I also received: Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, 4 he was buried, and he rose on the third day in line with the scriptures.
My faith is not a generic, lowest common denominator faith. My faith conviction is centered in the person of Jesus Christ. I live out my life based on his life, death and resurrection.
Some time ago, I was asked to participate in a Jewish-Christian wedding. I have done these before and was happy to be a part of the couple’s day. Just a few weeks before the wedding, I was told that I could not mention Jesus in my part of the ceremony. I was dumbfounded, but I agreed to the request. I participated in the ceremony according to their wishes, but I immediately regretted it.
I understand the reason why someone might make such a request. Some absolutely horrible events have occurred in our world with Jesus’ name attached, but cutting Jesus Christ out of the ceremony removes the very core of Christian beliefs and convictions. It cuts the core out of my beliefs and convictions. I am a Christian, and being a Christian is about Jesus.
I realize that this is not a simple matter. I am a follower of Jesus Christ—this is the core conviction on my life. At the same time I hear Desmond Tutu’s words that “the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong.”
Still, with deep sense of conviction mixed with humility and generosity, knowing that truth is always more than I can comprehend, I affirm that Jesus is Lord, and I follow him.
Entering into holy week we re-live the last week of Jesus’ life on earth. This week changed and changes everything. With anticipation, I look forward to next weekend: Good Friday through Easter Sunday.
With the crowds on the first Palm Sunday, I cry out Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. With the first crowds, I cry out—Lord, come, be merciful, save me.
Happy Palm Sunday.