As you know we are in the throes of a massive building project here at Noarlunga. Having sold one building we are now considering a number of options as to how best to realise our vision. Should we consider installing comfortable seating, air conditioning, significantly upgrading our sound and visual system, and getting a good coffee machine so we can offer a more comfortable worship experience? Or maybe we could upgrade our kitchen so we can provide more food for people, provide hospitality training and expand our food ministry? Perhaps we can offer programs to provide financial and concessions literacy, maybe even offer laundry and washing services. Given we cannot do everything, our resources are finite, it is helpful to have readings like today to help us define our priorities.
The arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday is a study in self-giving love and service. Jesus arrives on a donkey. He leads a crowd of social misfits who don’t fit in anywhere else. It is dirty cloaks, not ermine robes that are thrown before His path. He’s not come to violently overthrow the enemies of Israel but to be violently put to death. He’s a very strange sort of king. Yet this self-emptying humility is explained in our second reading where Paul explains that it is God’s nature to empty Himself and be a slave to all. Jesus did not consider being equal to God as something to be exploited for His own sake, but to be given up so He could serve and love others. Jesus is being true to His character as king of the poor, the marginalised, the oppressed and the forgotten.
So as His church, we need to model this same humility, this same attitude of loving and giving service. Jesus was found among the poor, the sick, the lame and the marginalised. He was constantly offering God’s love to them. The parables He told always shocked and surprised us. It turns out that Jesus’ very life and ministry was a parable. If Jesus is to be found among the margins, then that’s where our ministry should also be. We could use our resources for our own sake, our own comfort, but that’s not the attitude Jesus models for us. We could use our resources for the benefit of others; to show them God’s love in a practical way. For me, that’s more in keeping with the kingship of Jesus. Our new building must not be a vanity project for ourselves but a means of advancing Christ’s mission to the world. May we keep praying for a way forward as we celebrate Jesus coming into His capital as a very different sort of king.