Today is Palm Sunday and its significance is hard to overstate on so many levels.
For a start, the realization that so few are aware today of what it presaged can be looked at in conjunction with the falling away we see everywhere.
Then there were the Jewish people of the times who were looking for the Messiah of legend to deliver them from the Romans – so many became bitterly disappointed at the lack of triumphal procession and the lack of desired outcome as they imagined it would be.
A donkey, for goodness sake. A crucifixion.
Everyone in the crowd recognises that the donkey means that Jesus is coming in peace. Some of them think that, as the Messiah, Jesus will overturn Roman rule. Others aren’t sure but want to see what’s going on. People cover the road with palm branches and even their own cloaks! It’s a moment they’ll never forget.
The expectations at that time, fed by a misunderstanding of or non-listening to what had actually been said and done by this carpenter’s son are similar to the way the message has been far too freely, selectively misinterpreted since, leading to division, schism and a nasty attitude to others, the antithesis of what the message was meant to convey.
I have a huge problem with the fire and brimstone bigot, misnamed a fundamentalist. A fundamentalist is surely a person who goes back to first principles, no more, no less and not the grotesque paroday we see all over over the place now, from the Catholic molesters to this guy:
Sound doctrine, eh? Not only is he so far removed from being a fun guy but he’s ultra-creepy and that is no way how the spirit of the gospels and in particular the Sermon on the Mount was meant to pan out. How it was meant to pan out is not hard to think through. A lady named Liz Frederick sent an email about it, commenting:
[This pastor] preached a sermon on FMS and how the members should be skeptical of victim accounts of molestation. This sermon came years before the facts regarding the little girl came out.
I don’t recall if it was here or at OoL I posted on the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and the creepy people behind it but she asks if there is some way of knowing if someone’s connected with it. I don’t know that myself but I think it would be pretty concealed. I would see it as not unlike the Belgian issue of the missing children.
It also looks very much as if the closer people get to returning to the old ways of decency and sanity, the more false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing such as this Fraser get into it. It’s not just the molestation, it’s the church itself. Commenters mention trying to get out or unregister and they’re prevented from doing so, as Facebook also did not long ago. Very, very creepy and more than a little frightening.
Is it any wonder people don’t want a bar of so-called Christians and of course, with this barrier, the message of the gospels is also lost. How can I possibly take issue with my secular friends who say thanks but no thanks – you can keep your religion?
Just say people did heed the message in the Sermon on the Mount, just for argument’s sake. Whilst paying nominal deference to the secular power and paying your taxes, your heart is ruled by a higher power and your decisions in life are determined by that, not by some State decree or statute, not by some Prime Minister who speaketh and people panicketh in their petroleum fear. Life’s little difficulties wash over people as they act with at least basic decency towards each other and the family doesn’t make a big deal about itself but is the core unit.
Strangely, one side effect of a people whose loyalty is to a higher power is that loyalty and patriotism to the secular power are actually strengthened, not diminished. The loyalty is to the nation but not to the servants of the people except insofar as they carry out the will of the people in parliament. As our representatives, they’re our servants, not our masters. Our actual master is a higher power.
And in such a society, the DVLA does not make £21m selling details of 4.85m motorists… including passing on 7,000 drivers’ names to a convicted criminal, a secondary school does not have to call in a primary teacher to solve its reading crisis as pupils have the abilities of FIVE-year-olds and a lowlife who laughed when he was shown CCTV footage of his unprovoked attack on a homeless man is not given “specified activities” to help his alcohol addiction, as it’s far more important to pity the thug than the victim but he is in fact punished for his crime.
That sort of thing.
In a society where sanity abounds, where the postman still does his rounds, where the bobby still walks his beat, where wildflowers still bloom on railway embankments, do you imagine there’ll be no more cakes and ale? Do you imagine people will cease to sit out in the sunshine in the beer garden or stop attending the theatre?
I reject the model or image of the Christian as some sort of pitiless moralist, a creepy Jimmy Swaggart or a Catholic priest with fiddly fingers. I see the local pastor as some sort of nice chappy with a lovely wife and kids and you can pop into the vicarage for a cup of tea and a chat. The vicarage is a place of refuge in a crisis – we go about our business but it’s always there and we can sleep through the Sunday sermon and the church organ plays nice hymns.
Not some sort of Stepford Wives dystopia but something altogether less frightening. And all of that can be said to have started one Palm Sunday.