This week’s sermon

April 15, Palm Sunday

Luke 23:14-22 Covenant Blood

         Let us begin at the beginning and stay there. Always, in the way of Jesus, the end is included in the beginning. That is, death is included in life. We may not think about ourselves in that way. Yes, death is assured by birth, but our great concern is all in between, and, and to stave off mortality. But there is a message in the way of Jesus. The path is not between birth and death, but coming from and returning to God. Salvation is to know the presence of God in between, realizing that who God loves is my true identity. It is not the child of the world, who I am, or struggle to be and love in the world, that God loves. My true identity is the divine child God loves, born of the Creator’s Self. To realize this is to experience forgiveness. And the one who brings about this experience of forgiveness, or wakeful union with God, is called “savior.” Jesus baptizes by the Spirit, to remove our attachment to identity from birth to death, to identity as life from God and back to God. This is forgiveness, to adjust our path, our self-awareness, so we know who we are by God’s love. The Passion Gospel is about this adjustment.

         Let’s talk about the Passover meal of Jesus with his disciples. The first Passover – the Angel of Death slaying the first born of Egypt that Pharaoh would let the people to go. And for every first born son of Egypt, God would require the sacrifice of a first born son of Israel. That is, Israel must pay a blood price for liberation. And the sons must be freed from the shedding of their blood before God, by the sacrifice of doves, a blood price for liberation. And on the posts of the door, in the land of Goshen, the Jews smeared the blood of a lamb with a branch. No need for the Angel to stop and work if already there is death in the house. And now Jesus will absorb the Passover as the most practical and complete path to fulfill his mission. And the blood, where will the blood be, that the Angel of Death may see and Passover?

         Incidentally, a human being is a “pass through” organism. Physically, emotionally, intellectually, culturally we receive and pass through to another what we have received. This is the meaning of “Adam.” Adam was named as a doorway. Aleph dalet mem.  The meaning is dalet, a doorway through which pours a living ocean, mem. And dalet mem, “dam,” means blood. And for this first Jew, to pass on the blood, to multiply abundantly as the stars of the moonless night, is the primary obligation. For the life in the blood is the life of God. And where is the blood of the New Passover that the angel of death may see the Living One, the life of God, in all?

         Jesus says, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Fulfilled, how would it be fulfilled in kingdom of God? It might be now, for each day of life to be a Passover day, each meal of bread and wine to be a Passover meal, each day to be given the blood of Jesus’ death to take within, that the Angel of Death may see and pass over. See that in us is the sign of death, and at once all the life of our bodies as the presence and life of God, the fulfillment of the Passover by the blood of Jesus poured within. That’s what is meant, salvation by the blood of Jesus.

What is the kingdom of God? It is reality as the realm of the Spirit, the realm of creating. The time of the kingdom of God is NOW, and NOW is the immovable reality of God’s presence, unbounded in time or space. And from that immeasurable presence all universes emerge at the speed of time. “I will not any more eat thereof, until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” That is, until Jesus eats the Passover with his disciples baptized, anointed, in blessed union of the Holy Spirit, the communion of the kingdom of God, where all there is, is creating. Jesus desires to achieve that communion, and to do so he must suffer death to awaken truth, that none are dead to God for all live only of God.

Now a simple procedure. “Jesus took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among your selves. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.” And by pouring out the Holy Spirit Jesus will birth the saving realization that the truth of life is the kingdom of God. And that to share the cup together is to drink with Jesus, who in this way, reveals the presence and love of God. To drink with us, that we may know our life is one with his, in the ever-now fullness of divine love.

“And he took the bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” See, the first cup, share it among yourselves. Give to drink one to another. And then, the bread is, “…my body given for you.” Not yet the bread of the kingdom of God. His body given to death for them. Body as bread to be sacrificed by eating. That Jesus gives himself to his disciples in this way. That they would participate in the sacrifice of his body, and be nourished within by eating. The mystery of that to be opened by his filling them with the Holy Spirit after his death. And by the Holy Spirit to be illumined with recognition of his presence with us, not “memory” but “realization.”      

         Luke tells of a second cup, after supper. This cup is, “…the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” “Testament” means “covenant,”  and the rule of covenant. And the rule of the covenant is in his blood. Always, in the holy way of Israel, shedding of blood is required for covenant. Covenants are cut, and blood must be shed. And the blood of the sacrifice is cast upon and marks those who are thus united, by the blood, with the life of God. By covenant blood God chooses, claims, and obligates the people to the mission of the kingdom of God. We drink the cup, the blood of the kingdom of God by revelation of the Holy Spirit, and thus unite in a covenant of life for the glory of God as creator. The blood is shed not to be wasted, but to be put on, taken in, made with us of one body, and one spirit that we may know our truth as children of God. The blood of Jesus, shed for us, and what has he done to and for us, that we have eaten this bread, and shared this cup?