Make no mistake about it: Every act of Jesus during what we call Holy Week was political!
Failure to admit that is to reduce Jesus to a meager promoter of an other-worldly personal piety with little relevance to the real world.
The week began with a carefully planned protest march into Jerusalem, the center of political, economic, and religious power.
It is as though Jesus is throwing down the gauntlet in Washington, D.C., Wall Street, and the Vatican (or the location of our denominational headquarters).
Politics is about power, its definition and use, who wields it and toward what ends. Politics has to do with who has access to resources, what serves the common good, and how change is effected.
Jesus challenges all prevailing images of power of his time and ours. The images of Holy Week, therefore, call us to evaluate our own politics. The challenge crosses partisan political and religious loyalties, just as it did in Jesus’ time–Herodians, Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes.
The contrasting images are dramatically presented in Jesus’ march into Jerusalem. He is riding on a humble beast of burden, not a prancing war stallion. No tanks or missiles and parading armed soldiers!
His entourage consists of the poor, women and children, the outcastes, the working people waving palm branches, not the prominent and prestigious flaunting their privilege.
We would do well to put aside our defensiveness, partisanship, and privilege and honestly evaluate our politics, our understanding of power and the common good, in the light of Jesus’ actions during this fateful week.
I’ll offer my own observations and confessions and invite you to do the same.