Messages of Hope

Palm Sunday

Published / posted by Sandy

2018 Palm Sunday Rally – Walk for justice for refugees
Across Australia, people from faith groups, community groups and organisations and unions will join the Palm Sunday actions for Refugees, bringing banners and messages of support to express their concern about the treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum. In Adelaide people will gather in Victoria Square at 2pm, before walking to Parliament House for presentation by guest speakers. Speaking truth to power. (Details of Palm Sunday actions for Refugees in other cities here)
Approximately 30,000 refugees are living on temporary visas in our community with their futures in limbo. Many families are separated by the harsh system, and people despair of ever being reunited. Many lack access to education and citizenship and fear being deported to danger.
Refugees on Manus and Nauru are approaching their fifth year languishing offshore.
The refugee movement is shifting public opinion. A majority of Australians are now opposed to the continuing detention of refugees on Manus and Nauru and believe they should be brought to Australia
Join us and show your support for:
1. An Australia that treats people seeking asylum humanely and in accordance with Australia’s international obligations ensuring access to a fair application process irrespective of mode or date of arrival.
2. An Australia where people are free to live in the community while their claims are transparently processed
3. An Australia that expands alternative migration pathways for refugees, increases access to family reunion and creates opportunities for increased community involvement in the refugee resettlement program
4. An Australia that shows leadership in working with governments and people in the Asia-Pacific to address the causes of refugee displacement and increase access to sustainable humanitarian solutions that include aid, active diplomacy and resettlement

A reflection on the gospel account of Palm Sunday (Mark 11:1-11)
The events of Palm Sunday open themselves to an element of foolishness in interpretation and application. We have already encountered this call to foolishness in Lent 3, but on Palm Sunday, the implications and impact of this call to Gospel foolishness are made more clear, and our need to respond is made even more urgent.
The archetype of the Fool is an important and subversive one, since the fool, traditionally, was the only person who could speak truth to power. The musical Godspell portrayed this through dressing Jesus up in clown make-up and clothing. Rather than being an irreverent and mocking way of thinking of Christ, the fool image is a prophetic and transforming way of encountering Christ’s message and work, and this is particularly true as we think of the rather foolish image of a Christ processing into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey – not the most compliant of species at the best of times.
What makes this even more subversive and comical is the comparison with the second procession that would have been happening in Jerusalem that day – Pilate, on his white war horse, and his Roman troops arrayed in their best and most intimidating military finery.
In the Gospel of Mark’s account of this event, the strangeness of the procession is further heightened by the fact that Jesus does not immediately overturn the tables in the Temple. Rather, he simply looks around and leaves – leaving the crowds, I am sure, rather bewildered and perhaps anti-climactic. It is only the next day, when the “safety in numbers” is no longer there, that Jesus does his work of cleansing the Temple.
It is clear that Jesus is working hard here to reveal that God’s Reign is present, but to avoid either the excess of a military dictatorship, or the uprising of a bloody and violent revolution (which may well have arisen if he had done his table-turning with the crowds in attendance – in spite of what the other Gospels may say…).
So, this may be a good time to reflect on the foolishness of Christ, and the foolishness of following Christ in the ways and values of God’s upside-down Realm. This is actually the wisest way to live and offers real strategies for addressing our world’s crises, and the seeming wisdom of the world’s systems which are, in fact, fostering inequality, injustice, climate change, ethnic and religious violence, and fragmentation of our world and societies. When the simplicity, humility, generosity, compassion, justice, and grace of Christ are fully embraced – as foolish as these qualities may seem in today’s competitive world – the impact on our world is life-giving, healing and peace-making. The question we need to face is whether we are willing to become fools for the sake of the Gospel – and for the healing of our world. (John van de Laar, Sacredise)