Name the Demons
(Posted March 25, 2021)
“Have a blessed Palm Sunday. Remember a week before he was crucified like a criminal, he rode into the city a king.” – Anonymous
“Today, many years ago, He rode a donkey, not a horse. Peace is still the way He travels.” - Anonymous
It should never be this way. On the edge of this year’s Palm Sunday, when we wait and reflect on the crowds awaiting Jesus in Jerusalem and cutting and spreading palm fronds on the dusty ground, we have instead witnessed the bodies of the innocent thrown down in hate. It should never be -- never be that so much hatred has seeped into a soul that he thinks he has the right to cut off the branches of so many family trees, to trample them in the dust.
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In Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, the haters stole the people’s right to live when they were pierced through by a dead piece of metal forced into their bodies. Someone else died like that; pierced through with nails wielded in hatred. But in his case, it was atop a hill, and not in a market or place of business. And yet he rose to defeat the dark. How do we stop it now?
Hate is hate. Toxic power seeks to, at the least, silence the one who does not agree with another’s views, or at the worst, destroy the one who thinks differently. Such thoughts that lead to tragic actions are the height of madness, where the only reality is the warped one inside the hater.
Name the Demons
Jesus knew a thing or two about madness. When he was confronted with a howling madman in the Gerasene cemetery, he knew that the only way to begin the healing was to name the demons inside the man that controlled him. The same thing holds true today. All of us need to name the demons that have unleashed their evil in our midst. And they are legion: racism; divisiveness, lack of support for mental health care and rationing access to it; politicization of efforts to keep weapons out of the hands of unbalanced people; a culture that glorifies violence and defines manliness by the degree of domination over others. Greed.
Once we’ve named the “demons,” it is our responsibility to find the places that these shadows have infiltrated the paths we individually follow. And then, as those who claim to follow the humble man on the donkey, we must do what we can to make his ride of healing, peace and commitment continue, to bring justice to those who no longer can do it for themselves. If we are to bring this Palm Sunday into the light of a Resurrection morning, then we can and must do far more than spread palms in the dusty road of life in this shadow-ridden world of 2021.
Do what you can. Speak up for more effective ways to keep guns out of the wrong hands. And support every measure to bring mental illness out of the shadows and within the reach of healing hands.