Palm Sunday/Passion Week: Something Old, Something New: The Lesson

Palm/Passion Sunday texts at

Isaiah 50:4-9a          Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29          Psalm 31:9-16

Phil. 2:5-11          Luke 19:28-40          Luke 22:14-23:56

Morning by morning [the Lord] wakens–wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.  Isaiah 50:4b

While the Passover tells a story to be remembered, the prophet told a story that had not yet happened: God would send a Servant, saving God’s people and restoring them–restoring us–once again. And this time, for always.

God will send a Student, the prophet says. One who listens, who welcomes teaching, who is humble to receive instruction. A Disciple, who asks us to stand together with him as he lives out what he has learned: face forward. Don’t hide. There is no shame in obedience. You are not alone.

These are our lessons, for Lent, and for life.

If only we could visit the public-records collections, delve into the library stacks, and discover the family trees of our educations! If only we could examine the twining branches of our teachers’ teachers, tracing our ancestry in lessons that have been passed down to us like eye color; dominant traits that present themselves in our own patterns of speech, waves of thought.

How far back could we connect the dots of this heredity? Can we trace them to this beginning, through our teachers and grand-teachers and great-great-grand-teachers, through all the generations to this One who was the protege of the Most High, who studied God’s own instruction on how to bring freedom, how to serve humbly, how to give all? Can we claim to share a genealogy of scholarship with the Servant, the Student of God?

As Lent whispers to a close, Holy Week sets the syllabus for the rest of the way: pilgrim crowds and angry mobs, old blessings and new covenants, friends who serve and friends who sell out. Silver and spears. Water and blood. Darkness of sky, and darkness of stone.

It’s too late to turn back now. We still have so much to learn.

First published 3/14/16 on

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