Sunday 5th April 2020 Lent 6 Palm Sunday

Vicar’s Reflection: Sunday 5th April 2020, Lent 6, Palm Sunday

I am struck by the description of Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem because it is a crowd scene. There will be no crowds this Palm Sunday, or Holy Week, or the great festival of Easter. Covid 19 has struck. Thousands are dying around the world and more will die unless we take these unprecedented measures of physical isolation. Despite withdrawal to home isolation we can still carry these events of Holy Week and Easter in our hearts and souls. Like those first disciples we journey with Jesus on his descent into darkness – betrayal, cowardice, conspiracy, torture, moral failure, execution -all visited upon an innocent man. Was His undeserved suffering an incidental failure, a ‘series of unfortunate events’ or did these first Easter events expose a structural flaw in humanity? Undeserved bad things do happen to innocent people, as witness the rising toll of sickness from Covid 19. Behind this vicious virus there lurk some societal issues that have brought this suffering. The virus emerged from cruel markets where animals illegally obtained from wilderness areas around the world are crammed together to offer exotic taste sensations. This virus has exposed a shameful truth we have been all too ready to ignore because we were not affected. Well we are now. The question is, what are we to do about it? The experience of Jesus, our suffering Saviour was to bring to the surface deep-seated faults in humanity, such as greed, indifference and willingness to compromise principles. In Jesus we see God’s remedy: servant leadership, mercy and compassion, unconditional forgiveness, kindness and sacrificial love. As we make Jesus our Lord and Saviour; and allow his message to sink deeply into our hearts and minds; we find the means to redeem suffering and turn it to good, as many on the front line of the battle against Covid 19 are doing now. Alex Czerwonka

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