Do we know the ending? Words for Palm Sunday 2021 at Adel Parish Church.
Have you ever noticed how many stories there are in the Bible where we never hear the ending? In school recently we thought about Jonah – sitting in a huff outside Nineveh because God forgave the people…and Jonah couldn’t cope with that.
At the Lent course we looked at the rich young ruler – hearing from Jesus that to gain eternal life, he should sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. We often assume it was step too far for him – but all we’re told is that ‘he went away grieving…’ We never find what he actually did.
And there’s the elder son in the tale of the prodigal. Left sulking outside the party his father throws for his little brother. I like to feel he came to his senses and joined in…but who knows?
Today’s story of course is not like that. We’ve ‘done’ Holy Week many times before; we’ve just heard the whole thing again. We know the story and the ending…
…or do we?
You could say that what happens to Jonah and the older brother doesn’t really matter…the city of Nineveh and the prodigal son are both saved whether or not they go on sulking. But maybe they matter because they give us the chance to enter the story…to put ourselves in their shoes…and to see whether the ending we imagine, or wish for, is faithful to our role as followers of Christ.
In a way, we know the ending to today’s story. We know what happened to the disciples…to Jesus. But we don’t know what the ending is for us.
Because this is more than a story…it’s an invitation to new life…an invitation to an encounter…to see where the story leads us.
I suspect we’re very different people to who we were last Easter. And we bring all of that to the story this year. And as we stand in the space between the way things were, and the way they might be, we have more need than ever of this story that challenges us to leave things behind and put our trust in something new.
So, if there are still places left, and you’re able, come to church for our services this week. If not – use the reflections in the ‘Lent at Home’ bag, and the online services. Enter the story ready to discover a new ending, and a new beginning for your life in Christ.