People nowadays often fuss and fret about the question of the meaning of life.  What is the meaning of life?  Is it meaningless? And if there is meaning, why isn’t it obvious?  Dozens of answers have been given to these questions, and so there has been a great deal of fuss and fretting.

And yet, there is a larger question which is rarely addressed, and that is, “What is life?”  It is, I think, a harder question to answer.  And, I think, as well, that there’s a reason it is so often avoided.  And that is this: the answer implies a demand.  If you know what life is, then you’ve got to live it.

Holy Week is a time when life — real life — is defined for us.  And that is why it is so important that every Christian worship regularly and diligently during the week ahead of us.  We need to know what life is, even more than we need to know what it may mean.

And we need to know the answer to another and related question — “What is power?”  And upon the answer to this question will depend the quality of one’s life.  What is power?  We’d better find out, because, of course, we need power.  We must have power — to live, to work, to study, to think, to build, to be.  We must have power.  But what is it?  At where is it?


The crowds we heard about in the two readings from the gospels this morning knew what they thought power to be.  It was might.  It was strength.  It was the force required to get rid of their pagan Roman conquerors.  It was the ability to put down a tyranny and once again to live free.  (But what, in fact, does “to live free” mean, if you don’t know what life is?)

Yet even so, theirs was an obvious answer, and given their situation as a brutally conquered people, it was not an ignoble one.  People should be free.  Brutality and tyranny are always wicked and should be overthrown.  And so … Away with Rome!  Down with the conqueror!  We shall restore our kingdom and re-establish our own ways.  You, Messiah, hail!  You, Son of David!  Come lead us and free us!  Hosanna!  Hosanna!  Blessings on the Lord’s anointed!

Yes, that is power.  But is that all there is to the power of might ? To earthly power ?

For, let’s not forget, such power as that, is always fickle — and quickly turns around.  It is treacherous — that kind of power:  One tyranny replaces another.  Today’s liberator is tomorrow’s despot.  Oppression/oppressor just change their names and put on different clothes.

And the crowd always seems to along.

Hosanna!  Blessings!  Save us!

Then — Crucify!  Crucify him!  Give us Barabbas!  We have no king but Caesar!

What is power?  What is life?  What do they look like?  Where can we get power — true power.  And where can we get life — true life?

This coming week is a time to discover the answers to these questions.  This week God will show us what life and power look like.

And it will be a surprise, you know.  Not what we expected, nor what the world we live in tells us every day.  For power and life in God’s eyes and in God Himself is something quite other than what we might imagine.

In God’s eyes:

Power and life – they look like a man comforting and healing the sick.

Power – real power – and life – real life:

They look like a man putting aside and forgiving people’s past mistakes, sins, and guilt.

Power – real power – and life – real life:

They look like a mean preaching good news to the poor and gathering to himself thoses whom others despised.

Power – real power – and life – real life:

They look like a man washing people’s tired and dusty feet.

Power – real power – and life – real life:

They look like bread and wine.

Power – real power – mand life – real life:

They look like a man dying on a cross.

And most important, most surprising, most unexpected — power and life, they look like love.   Come and see. Come and see.

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