Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything,
as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. —Mark 11:11
Theologians observe that Palm Sunday marks the point of no return for Jesus. He had crossed a line and was a threat to the status quo. He was making a mess with his turning conventions (and tables) upside down. It was bad enough that he entered the city in a way calculated to whip up Messianic fervor—when Jesus focused his central attack not on the palace but on the temple, he threatened the heart of Jewish self-identity. No wonder they were trying to stop him.
I wonder if you can put yourself in that place for just a moment, that point of no return? That point where you realize that the king does not claim a crown, that salvation is totally misunderstood, that you are in the midst of an existential crisis (if you will) and the way things have been, the ideas you thought were foundational, the troubled feelings you had previously been able to suppress, the identity that you carried for years—just do not work for you any more. Has this happened to you?
The point of no return has happened to me many times. I can vividly call-up that moment when I realized that a head full of AA and a belly full of beer were not going to work for me and I was going to have to change a whole lot about my life. And the time when, after keeping it a secret for months, I had to tell someone about being called to ministry. And the moment when I realized that I could no longer stay in a relationship which was hurting me and other people that I loved. And that time when…over and over again—God has placed me at the point of no return.
You might think that the point of no return is the beginning of trouble, Jesus’ disciples did. But it is really the beginning of grace, a necessary crossover point, a muscle building hurdle on the path to spiritual awakening. Because, beloved, if we stay on the path, even if we fall asleep in the garden, and turn away in the courtyard and fail to carry the cross and run in fear from the empty grave—Love Wins—and we are changed by the journey and the Love of God in Christ, Jesus.
May your Holy Week be transformative.