by Tanis Helliwell
Palm Sunday Message
Today on Palm Sunday I am reminded of the significance of Christ’s life for each of us. This is the day some two thousand years ago that the people of Jerusalem lined the streets to praise him as their savior. Yet, in less that a week on Good Friday in the same city the people called for him to be nailed to a cross and killed. How fickle are the rewards of this world and how quickly they can change in your life.
Message of the Crucifixion
Perhaps you have experienced this when people you love and trust leave you for another. Maybe your work has brought you material success in the form of money and status one year, only to lose your job or money the next. Or you find the perfect partner after years of searching and then death or devastating illness snatches away your loved one. These are the crucifixions that most of us experience and, if we escape these, still no one can escape his or her own death.
If Christ’s story ended here, as is usually portrayed in traditional Christian churches, then his story is only of pain and suffering. But the important place to end the story is with the ascension. This Jesus and all enlightened teachers say comes through devoted dedication to God and to being non-attached to things of this world by it world success, material possessions or family.
Message of Resurrection
Through practicing these principles we become one with Spirit and are continually renewed. This is the hope that the Easter message offers us. One of rebirth, joy, peace, and freedom from the world’s cares. In the Hindu tradition the third stage of life that we enter when we start getting wrinkles and grey hair in our 50’s is called vanaprastha. This stage is said to extend until the final stage of old age in our later seventies or eighties called sannyas.
In our modern world a problem occurs because we refuse to leave the life of the householder and the world where we accumulate more worldly attachments which is the garhasthya stage. This can be for a variety of reasons. Our children may not leave home even in their twenties or may experience difficulty finding a fulltime job. If our children are delayed, then we may also be. A second reason may be that we feel that we need more money to guarantee a comfortable retirement. A third reason can be that we feel called to serve the world so do not take enough time for our own renewal and contemplation.
If we have any of these problems we may find ourselves crucified rather than moving to the contemplation and meditation and creativity that accompanies the third stage that leads to spiritual and often bodily renewal.
So what can we do? Even if we are not yet in our 50’s we can embrace time for contemplation and meditation in our life. In fact, it is better to do so to plant the tree of Divine Life that wishes to be born in us. If we are in our 50’s or 60’s, it is essential that we create time for meditation and to turn our attention towards Spirit and trust that Spirit will renew us and give us insights and intuition that can help both us and others in the world.