I'm not necessarily a wholly holy believer, but I do believe there are many lessons to be learned from the story of Jesus as told in the Bible. On this Palm Sunday, I listened online in the time of COVID 19 to my church's* Palm Sunday Service. As always when I do listen to the pastor's sermon, I come away thinking about things in a different way. After all, one of this denomination's mottos is "Don't leave your brain at the door."
The reverend spoke of two stories from the Book of Mark. One about Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the other of the anointing of Jesus at Bethany**. My biggest takeaway from this sermon was in line with what the reverend spoke of: this is a story of triumph, a balancing in preparation for what was to come, sorrow, and the eventual triumph to some.
Greeted by worshipping throngs, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, a humble "king of the jews", but really a great teacher. The woman at Bethany anointed him with a precious oil that was used to both celebrate the elevation of Jesus and to calm and soothe him in preparation for what was to come.
Lest I get into sermonizing myself, this whole story for me opened my eyes again to the fact that in my life there are "wins" and there are "losses". It is a constant swing from highs to lows. The pendulum, as is oft said, swings both ways. That is what is happening now, I believe. Wildly to be sure. But eventually the pendulum will settle again in the middle, perhaps this time to stay.
*First Congregational Church United Church of Christ, Riverside CA
** Mark 1:1-11 and Mark 14:3-9