It's all going to end badly, I can tell. (Bloomsbury Lent Series 2018 #6)
Listen to the service here:
All that cheering and shouting – it's bound to cause a backlash!
Do you think so? I thought it was wonderful. So much energy, so much joy. Didn’t you see the way the crowds were cheering and dancing? Didn’t you see the palms and the cloaks? Didn’t you see them celebrate the coming king?
That's not what I saw. I saw a crowd of people carried away with the emotion, not really thinking about what they were doing. I saw people who were simply caught up in the moment, carried along by the mob mentality. And I saw some who thought this might be a good time to make trouble, push a cause – without thinking about the danger it might cause.
I thought the donkey was a nice touch – kept it in the tradition.
You think so? I thought it was needlessly provocative. And at the height of the feast too, when the city’s on edge as it is. Did you see the faces of the soldiers?
Well, I heard them trying to make people be quiet. But I also heard him say that if the crowds were quiet the stones would shout out...not convinced the soldiers are going to win that one!
But that's just my point. It's all so unrealistic. Stones crying out indeed! Whoever heard of stones making a theological statement? I mean, it's not just today that’s unrealistic and ridiculous. The whole thing is just asking for trouble.
The whole travelling round the country preaching and healing; eating with all those questionable folk, telling all these provocative stories. He's just been asking for trouble.
I suppose. Well sort of. I mean, I don't think he was doing in order to provoke. Like, when he healed the man in the synagogue – it’s not as if he went out if his way to do it there and then just to upset people. It’s just that there and then was where it was needed.
I wonder. He could have told him to go away and come back at a more suitable time and place.
Maybe. But maybe – despite the objections – there isn't a more suitable time and place for that kind of thing.
I’m not so sure. It wouldn’t have been hard to find another time to do it. And then there’s the eating with those – outsiders. It seems unnecessary.
Really? If you listen to him, he was kind of saying that it was exactly that it was necessary; to do what he’s doing, to be who he’s being means exactly this breaking of the rules and opening up of the restrictions.
Well, I'm not convinced. It looks to me as if he's either stupid or a troublemaker. He’d have done better to leave well alone – or at least not to come to Jerusalem.
Oh, I don't think he's stupid. It's more like....more like he's walking a different path....maybe if we walked on his path it might go better. I wonder why you're so apprehensive about it all. OK, so today was a bit over the top – but why not. He's done nothing but good for us. And if he shakes some of the folk who have a high opinion of themselves, where's the harm?
Where's the harm? They're the ones in charge. They're the ones who could really cause trouble. Haven't you heard the rumours...they want rid of him. And they can do it.
You think so? I'm not so sure. I don't think he'll be that easy to get rid of.
Really. Have you seen what the empire does to people like us who step out of line? Remember John the baptiser....Herod got rid of him pretty effectively.
Well, I guess that's true. But all the same- I think this one might surprise them. He’s got that – conviction that the life he lives and serves is bigger than their threats and violence.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Remember when he did that long sermon?
Yes – I thought it was never going to end....
And he was talking about trust, and knowing that just because we’re without power it doesn't mean we're worthless
I'm not sure I do.
Yes you do. He told us to look at the flowers
Oh I remember; it all seemed a bit airy-fairy to me; I mean, flowers! Very beautiful, no doubt, but here today and gone tomorrow.
Exactly; that was his point. If they are so beautiful, and yet over in a flash, how much more significant are our lives, how much more presence is our being….
That's all very well, but I tell you, they've got it in for him. And that crowd today won't stand up for him when it comes to it
Oh I think you're right about that.
That he's under threat and that there won't be any help.
That’s a bit if a turnaround. What happened to all that energy and joy you were celebrating earlier?
Oh it's real. It’s just not enough. There's a threat alright.
So what are we going to do about it?
I don't think there's anything we can do. I think he's made up his mind.
How do you mean?
Well he's talked often enough about having to die.
I know. I try not to listen. Downright gloomy it is.
Yes – but I think he knows what he's doing. He's chosen the hill he's going to die on....by refusing to fight back, to hate, to condemn, to fear.
And all we can do is go with him
Is that what you’re going to do? I thought you’d had enough.
So did I. But – well, sometimes, you have to do the daft thing because it’s right. Do you think it will end there?
What do you mean?
Do you think, if they kill him, that'll be it. We'll all just go back to the way we were and forget it all?
I'm not sure.
So – what? We'll go on remembering and trying to imitate and live as if all that stuff he said about love and hope and forgiving is true after all?
Well, there's that. But maybe – just maybe there might be something we haven't thought of. After all, he's never done what we expect so far....today's parade proved that.
That would be nice. But what kind of surprise can you spring once you're shut in a tomb.