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Hosanna as Pain, Hope and Power
Palm Sunday has been hopelessly domesticated by much of the Christian tradition. But, in truth, Jesus' entry into Jerusalem is a brilliant, perfectly planned and executed non-violent direct action. Its wisdom has much to teach us as we seek to navigate in this political moment in ways that are creative and strategic.
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In the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel, there is a powerful scene in which God leads Ezekiel out to a valley in which there lie the bones of the dead. They are described as very dry. In these times, it often feels as if we are being placed amidst the bones of the victims of Empire's death-dealing. But Ezekiel's experience isn't only about the power of Empire to kill and oppress, it's also a powerful strategy for resistance.
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When Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina died in July of 2008, Peter Staley told this story:"On September 5th, 1991, I put a giant condom over Jesse Helms’ house.
Why? Because, as the condom said, 'Helms is deadlier than a virus.' Senator Jesse Helms was one of the chief architects of AIDS-related stigma in the U.S. He fought against any federal spending on HIV research, treatment or prevention. He once said, referring to homosexuals, 'it’s their deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct that is responsible for the disease.' Here’s another choice one: 'There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy.'
To read more about what this giant condom might have to do with Lenten practice, read more here:
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel is a pastor, theologian and movement builder. She is also a mom, partner, community-builder, biker, runner and swimmer.