If these were silent, the stones would shout out
Strange words from Our Lord on the eve of his Passion....words that have provoked some deep and thoughtful conversations with the children of the parish as they've visited St Matthew's to explore the “Experience Easter” stations.
You may not realise it, but as you sit in the choir stalls you are at the beginning of the Experience Easter journey...at the station that reflects on Palm Sunday. That cairn of stones at the foot of the cross represents the hopes and dreams of several hundred children. They sat where you are sitting, talked about their longings - for themselves, their families, and the world - and held a stone as they thought about these in silence, then slowly and prayerfully made the journey along the road to Jerusalem, to leave their hopes, dreams and prayers, with the One who has the power to make them reality.
Holy ground for Holy Week.
Now here, as Holy Week begins in earnest, we stand with the excited crowds, confident that the man on the donkey is the one who will change the world forever.
Whatever our agenda – we are sure he can bring it about.
This is the man who will make all our dreams come true, not just today but always.
We proclaim with joy the coming of the King into his City...and we offer him our own longing for liberation, as surely as the crowds lining the road that day offered him their longing for liberation from Rome, their dreams of Isaiah's peaceable kingdom.
We cheer and shout, for today we see things as they truly are
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in highest heaven”
You see – some things are too huge, too important to be quiet about.
I'm certain that this is what Jesus meant with his words
“If these were silent, the stones would shout out”
One wise child last week pointed out that unless we explained it, nobody coming in to church would see more than pile of stones by the high altar....but that because we had seen child after child carry their stone, made precious by the dreams it represented, along the road to Jerusalem, we knew that this cairn truly marked a very special place.
We had seen – and so we understood.
The Palm Sunday crowds had also seen – and understood...
They had seen the miracles and wonders, had listened to the stories, had grasped that here, HERE was Someone, a man like no other...bringing peace and glory in his wake.
Their hearts were full and their joy overflowed.
They could not keep silent
This is Holy Week...a week unlike any other in the year...a week when we do not simply recall but reMEMBER the events in Jerusalem 2000 years ago.
We bring the past into the present, so that we too can find our place in the Passion narrative, can walk the way of the Cross and find it none other than the way of life and peace.
We have seen and so we understand.
In the past we have been able to assume that these stones – the stones of our churches – would cry out, would carry memories of a familiar story out into our community, to draw others in to walk beside us.
Now, you know, even the rumour of God is barely alive in too many places.
Perhaps we relied on the stones to cry out for too long....but now we have to add our voices.
This is our story, this is our song...
Let us proclaim it with our lips – but also with our lives
“Peace in heaven and glory in highest heaven” to be found in the person of that young man, riding down the road on a donkey 2000 years ago – but living in his Church and in his world today.