Sermons 2009
The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Palm Sunday 2009B    The Seven Sayings from the Cross


During Holy Week we often med­itate and reflect on the last words of Jesus on the cross.  But there is a change from Palm Sunday to Good Friday.  On Good Friday the altar cross is cloaked in black; the hangings are removed; all is bare.  The tone of Good Friday is one of sorrow and sadness; oppositely the tone of Palm Sunday is one of anticipation, of penultimate victory, of the promise of transformation.  Although on Palm Sunday we ordinarily repeat the Passion story, today we read the gospel story of the Triumphal Entry having heard the Passion Cantata.    And we listen to the last seven sayings from the Cross on this Palm --  Passion – Sunday:  with anticipation, with assurance of penultimate victory, with the promise of transformation. 


In the four Gospels there are seven sayings attributed to the dying Christ: ­one in Matthew and Mark, three each in Luke and John.  Good Friday meditations focus on the passion and suffering of Jesus.  This Passion Sunday meditation on Jesus' words from the cross will focus on the transforming power of the resurrection and on the loving compassion of our savior.


            My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? These words are recorded in both Matthew and Mark, and in them alone. They are from the opening verse of Psalm 22, and a text that Jesus would have known well. As he hangs on the cross the words are of pain and abandonment.   Everyone, at some time has felt, or will feel, that way.   But in the resurrec­tion, God makes it clear once and for all that pain and suffering and death do not have the final word.  No matter how much we may feel lost and hopeless, God will transform all suffering in the eternal life that awaits us.  In the final word  from the Cross and Resurrection is this: "All shall tell of the Lord to the coming genera­tions, and proclaim God's deliv­erance to a people yet unborn, that God has accomplished it…."


Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do.  Luke records these as Jesus' first words as he is being nailed to the cross. They show the extraordinary compas­sion of our savior, fulfilling his own instruction to his disciples and to us to forgive our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  In the resurrection, God does what Jesus asks:  All are forgiven. Easter bids us to remember, to accept, and finally, to live this out.

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.  These words also are found only in Luke, an expression of hope and compassion given to one of those crucified with Jesus who asked to be remembered by him.  The man's faith in Jesus is met with a prom­ise of fulfillment.  In the resurrec­tion, God affirms the promise which is extended to all.  The con­dition of perfect harmony with God, damaged and lost in our fall from grace, is now restored in Jesus.  Our ultimate and eternal destination is confirmed.


            Father, into your hands I com­mend my spirit.  The final words recorded by Luke (Ps 31)express the other side of abandonment which is trust even in the darkest hour. The resurrection affirms our trust in God is never misplaced, even if it seems that there is no apparent solution to our cares and strug­gles.


Woman, behold your son.  Man, behold your mother.   These words from the cross are recorded in John's Gospel.  Jesus is speak­ing to his own mother and to “the beloved disci­ple." His concern is to establish a new family relationship for his mother, giving her someone to care for her.  Our relationships matter, especially with those we love and with whom we share a life histo­ry, but also with all whose lives intersect with ours.  Jesus creates a new bond among us.  The resurrection is an assurance that not only do our relationships with one another connect to our relationship with God, but also that we will never lose those we love.


I  Thirst. These words are found only in John. There is a very human and a spir­itual aspect to this cry. On the one hand, Jesus suffers and thirsts as would all humans, but, beyond this, there are the deepest human longings for God and for God's transforming lov­ing, and life-giving presence in our lives. The resurrection assures us that in Christ these longings are fulfilled.


It is finished!   John's final words from the dying Jesus are a cry of victory.  Jesus, the incarnate love and Word of God, has loved to the very end.  He has loved in spite of betrayal, torture, humiliation, and suffering.  He has loved enough to die as we all will die.  The resurrection is the final and total fulfillment of this love, this amazing grace from the Lord who love us still.       Amen


- adapted from The Rev. James I. Burns, Church of the Heavenly Rest, New York, New York, “Transformation” , The Anglican Digest, Lent 2009 A.D., pp. 54-55