A Texas Civil Rights Review Sunday Sermon.
By Greg Moses
As I was thinking about Palm Sunday’s nonviolent protest, that will demonstrate the futility of attempting to retrace the steps of Jesus, who traveled several days in a row from Bethany to Jerusalem and back, it seemed like a good time to read from the Book of Mark.
One of my cousins gave me for Christmas a wonderful ‘reader’s Bible’ translated by Eugene H. Peterson. Of course, it has the story of people shouting ‘Hosanna!’ as Jesus rode into Jerusalem, unimpeded by any walls or security checkpoints. That was on Sunday. And Jesus returned to Bethany for the night.
On Monday morning, there is a puzzling story about a fig tree. Jesus is hungry. He walks up to a fig tree “expecting to find something for breakfast, but found nothing but fig leaves.” Notes Mark: “It wasn’t yet the season for figs.” So Jesus tells the tree, “No one is going to eat fruit from you again – ever!” The tree withers up and dies.
Then when they all got to Jerusalem, Jesus walked into the Temple and started “throwing out everyone who had set up shop there, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of the bankers and the stalls of the pigeon merchants.” He scolded the people for turning his “house of prayer” into a “house of thieves.” Then he went back to Bethany again for the night.
As Sunday was a day of celebration, Monday was a day of forthright judgment, ready or not.
Then came Tuesday. Jesus begins the day with a little sermon at the wasted fig tree. Throw your whole life into God, he said. Pray for everything, include everything, “and you’ll get God’s everything.” But especially pray to forgive others, he said. Then they went back to Jerusalem again, this time to teach in the Temple.
It’s a long day of teaching, too. Jesus appears to be in top form, very well prepared. Lots of interesting lessons. He does not promise good times, but there is one student he likes. In the evening, relaxing at the Mount of Olives, he teaches from the image of a fig tree again. The fig tree tells you when summer is coming. So, watch out for signs that God is coming.
One day of jubilation, one day of judgment, one day of forgiveness and teaching. Mark knows how to keep his story sharp. Two fig trees: the one that’s not ready in the morning, and the one that’s early in the evening. As you think about Jesus walking that road between Bethany and Jerusalem, you know which fig tree you don’t want to be, that is, if there’s anything at all you can do about it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11 March 2008
Palm Sunday Procession to the Bethany Gate
BETHANY – On Palm Sunday, 16 March 2008 the local community, joined by
international visitors will process from Lazarus’ Tomb to the separation
barrier, celebrating Palm Sunday and calling for freedom of worship and an end
to the construction of the Apartheid Wall.
Since 1991, Israeli authorities have prevented Palestinian Christians and
Muslims from entering Jerusalem, depriving them of the right to worship in the
With the near completion of the wall and the closure of the gate Jesus himself
would not be able to follow the path he took 2,000 years ago. Participants
will carry olive branches, flags, and banners.
Worshipers will gather at Lazarus’ Tomb at 11:00 am.
For Immediate Release
Nonviolent Anti-Wall Protest in Al-Khader- Bethlehem Aria
Bethlehem – Palestine / Friday March 14, 2008: The Popular Committee against
the Wall and Colonization in Al-Khader is organizing a nonviolent demonstration
to protest the construction of the Segregation Wall in the town of Al-Khader,
located west of Bethlehem.
The motto of this demo is: Down the Wall, Palestine holds All
The construction of the wall in this town will expropriate more than 20000
dunams (5000 acres) of the town’s land, which will make life intolerable for
this predominantly agricultural community.
People will congregation will start at 11:45 am by the southern entrance of
Al-Khader- Bethlehem area. The protest will start after the Friday pray, near
the bypass, route 60 where the construction site is.
Join us; Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals to draw the future together
For more information, please contact:
For English; Samer Jaber
For Arabic; Bassam Ghneim
George S. Rishmawi
Siraj, Center For Holy Land Studies
Beit Sahour, Schoold Street