Some of them are just part of the normal wear and tear of life. Parts wear out. It is amazing that they don’t wear out more quickly than they do. What kind of machine could run 24 hours a day, seven days a week the way our bodies do? It works so well for most of us that it can be a real jolt when a part breaks down. A sense of mortality is a good thing, though, because it reminds us to appreciate the beauty and love that we have, while we still have it. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us, which is why we begin our Lenten journey with ashes.
Potholes may include things like a recession, or a promotion that didn’t come through, a conflict with someone you love, or not getting something on which you had your heart set. Everyone encounters their share of potholes while simply traveling through life, but there are times when the hole is deeper than you thought. There are times when the bottom falls out, and you fear your whole world may be shaken apart. Although we dramatize some of our problems and struggles, every life has those moments when who you are and what you believe are taken apart, leaving you to try to reassemble them.
The first disciples of Jesus were looking for a faith that would connect them with God, give their lives meaning and power, and help them make sense of it all. Then Jesus came along, and they were convinced that he was the one to show them the way. They left everything and followed him. Every day he told a parable or worked a miracle that turned their belief system upside down. They soon didn’t know what to believe, so they simply believed in him. They followed him into Jerusalem, aware of the danger, but with high hopes that this would be the moment for which all Israel had been hoping. At last, they had a profoundly spiritual leader who would be able to rally the people, and, with God’s help, they would overthrow Rome and reestablish David’s kingdom in Israel.
Put yourself in their shoes for just a moment. Imagine how it must have felt to watch the one you believed had been sent from God be arrested, tortured, and executed by the state as a criminal. How wrong can you be?
Like me, you may have asked yourself that question. My only counsel is to invite you to church this Palm Sunday to engage the story of Life again. Resurrection has no meaning without death, so don’t leave the story too soon.
Rev. Michael Piazza