Sunday, March 28, 2010

As The Crowd Turns

Never trust a mob of humans. That's the lesson of Palm Sunday for me. One day that crowd is spreading palms along the way shouting "Hosanna!" (Ooh, you're so smart/pretty/powerful!) and the next it's shaking fists and screaming "Crucify!" (Damn you, traitor/hypocrite/sneak!).

Mob behavior is ripe fodder for sociologists. Perfectly nice, smart, moral folks behave counter to everything they know to be right when lumped into an incendiary crowd. Think Nazi Germany. Think a rock concert gone bad. Think Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," for goodness' sake. On the upside, think Palm Sunday. On the downside, think Good Friday.

Too often churches and their messengers overlook this really important lesson in a rush to move through the Passion story, but I think they miss a real teachable, spiritual moment, especially in these highly-charged political times. Right now, we have hoards of people massed against one another screaming "Hosanna!" or "Crucify!," depending on which end of the issues they're on. Nothing good can come of it, really. It's an angry stalemate between two diametrically opposed human mobs. And we know how that turns out, if you follow it on to Good Friday.

Then there are folks like me, caught in the middle. Hoping for something to come along and pour a balm on all this manic/depressive/euphoric/homicidal mob-shouting.

The only thing to do is cover our ears and hope for Resurrection. Somewhere. Somehow.

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