"A Word of Hope and Challenge:" A Palm Sunday Reflecton from Bishop David Reed
The Rt. Rev. David Reed shares the following Palm Sunday reflection as part of a daily Lenten Devotion series offered by Episcopal Migration Ministries, in partnership with members of the Episcopal Asylum Ministry Network. Written reflections are released daily through Easter Sunday, April 4.
Other upcoming authors in this series from the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas will include the Rev. Joshua Molnar, deacon in San Antonio; Allie Melancon, College Missions Director and Senior Seminarian; the Rev. Arnoldo Romero from St. James', Del Rio; the Rev. Will Wauters from Santa Fe, San Antonio; Andrea Rudnik from Advent, Brownsville; and the Rev. Mike Marsh from St. Philip's, Uvalde. Sign up to receive daily reflections by email here.
A Palm Sunday Reflection, by the Rt. Rev. David Reed
God speaks an audacious word in Isaiah 58:12, a word of hope and challenge. God instructs Isaiah, “Declare to my people their rebellion and…their sins.” The judgement is specific and personal: “In the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers…you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist.” (Isaiah 58:3-4)
God then describes the fast he desires. “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see him naked, to cover him…?” Fast from fakery, self-righteousness and selfishness, and feast on kindness, justice and mercy. And then, “your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily…” (Isaiah 58:6-8.)
God’s people are broken, and their brokenness is breaking everyone around them. And yet, these are the “you” to whom God is speaking in today’s verse: “You will raise up a foundation,” and “you shall be called the repairer and restorer.” An amazing transformation happens when people remember, and are reoriented toward, God. Those who were self-fascinated and selfish, find healing and new life in a self-offering of love and compassion.
How do we hear this passage? If we put ourselves in the shoes of refugees and immigrants, we might wonder who will raise up for us a “new foundation” and repair and restore our brokenness. If we are those who minister to the above brothers and sisters, then we are likely trying to find more effective ways to serve them as repairers and restorers.
Jesus enters the walled city of Jerusalem on this holy day, announcing and fleshing out the promises of God in the face of all that is deadly and dehumanizing. To follow him on this pilgrimage is to be given different eyes with which to see. And so, what if we see refugees and immigrants as those upon whom God’s promise is resting? What “ancient ruins” in my life and yours are they waiting to rebuild? How are they offering to raise up new foundations, repairing and restoring the brokenness within and around us? How are they and we one and the same?