Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 12 - Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord

‘On the next day, when the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, (even) the king of Israel.” Jesus found an ass and sat upon it, as is written: “Fear no more, O daughter Zion; see, your king comes, seated upon an ass's colt.” His disciples did not understand this at first, but when Jesus had been glorified they remembered that these things were written about him and that they had done this for him.’ John 12:12-17

This is one of those beautiful chapters which makes Reverend Mill’s book worth its price even if it’s the only chapter you read. It is a ‘taking apart’ if you will of the familiar Palm Sunday and Passover stories which we think we know but maybe we could stand to examine in a lot more detail, if for no other reason than during Holy Week there is so much going on, it’s hard to take everything in.

Although there’s no way to do justice to this chapter and I’d have to plagiarize half the text in any attempt to do so, I thought I’d keep my ambitions for this post extremely small and just focus on the chapter title, which also happens to be the most important line in that Scripture reading: ‘Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord.’

I want to be blessed, don’t you?

Mostly I believe I am blessed. Whenever I see my eighty + year old friend Lloyd and ask him how he is, he answers, “I’m blessed!” I love his Faith. It’s a reminder to me that I’m blessed too.

But what about the rest of the sentence, ‘. . . is he who comes in the name of the Lord’?

When do I come, ‘in the name of the Lord’? Whenever I make the Sign of the Cross*, I say, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Isn’t that the name of the Blessed Trinity? Isn’t that my God? If I begin every journey with the Sign of the Cross then am I not going – and coming – in the name of the Lord? And by extension am I also not blessed?

“In the Name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Blessed Trinity, help me to remember to begin all my endeavors—however small—in Your Holy Name that I may be blessed in all I say, think and do by Your Grace. Amen.”

* When I make the Sign of the Cross I hold my hand as shown in the picture above. I learned about this Byzantine Catholic or Eastern Christian tradition when I was teaching my own children about the Sign of the Cross many years ago. The position of the fingers gives additional meaning to the physical signing action and I liked that. As a teacher I had learned that the more sensory involvement in any activity the greater the overall learning potential and individual participation. The Byzantine view is explained in more detail here.

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