Better than politics

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday and it gave me a special feeling to see many people, a lot of them newcomers to Neepawa from the Philipines, streaming out of St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic church. Many were carrying palm fronds, signifying an observance of Palm Sunday, commemorating the day Jesus made what was described as  a triumphal entrance into Jerusalem.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus went from a hero to a zero in many peoples’ minds in seven short days. The residents of Jerusalem, the Jewish people were looking for a messiah, a saviour. Most were looking for a political saviour, just as many in Canada today are looking for a political saviour. Jesus was very political, but he was no political saviour. His saving was, and is, aimed at each one of us personally, not collectively or nationally.
As a young man I asked, “Saved from what?” It was a legitimate question. Raised in a safe and loving home, in a quiet and caring community and by then off to university, what did I need to be saved from? I was safe in a physical or even emotional basis, I thought I was pretty much safe.
What I had never really thought about is that while physically safe for the time being and pretty much emotionally safe too, there was more to be considered. Life was good. But life, no matter how good, doesn’t go on forever. For some it stops young and suddenly, for others it stops slowly and at an old age. But rest assured, it stops for everyone, no matter how strong we are, no matter how weak we are. No matter who we are, life eventually stops.
Then what? If we believe that we are only a body and emotions, life ends with death. But if we believe that we have a soul (or spirit if you prefer) then it lives on after the body lays down a final time. For whatever reason, most cultures believe that a person lives on after physical death. The whole topic has been wrapped in tons of written pages and endless spoken words.
Safe to say, most believe that there is a time to be born, a time to die and a time to go into eternity. Some don’t believe that but most do. Most believe, to some degree or another, that there is a heaven and a hell.
The big question then becomes, how does one obtain heaven and avoid hell? If a person believes that there is neither heaven or hell, the question doesn’t matter. There is overwhelming evidence that there is a heaven and a hell but all the evidence in the world doesn’t really matter. Most people come to the conclusion on their own and are nagged by the question of where they will spend eternity after their physical death.
That brings us back to Palm Sunday. People were looking for a savior, a political one, but didn’t get what they were looking for. Jesus  was seized, beaten up badly, crucified and died. He was placed in a rocky tomb on what sounds like an ironically named Good Friday, lay there for what some Christians call Holy Saturday and his body was gone by Easter Sunday. 
Jesus appeared to many people after that day. I believe Jesus “rose from the dead”.
I also believe that Jesus did so, so that by believing in him I might be “saved”.
Funny words we use in the English language Christian dialogue aren’t they?
Jesus said that all those who believed in him would go to be in heaven some day. He didn’t say all those who were good, he said those who believed in him.
Unlike in politics, Jesus is a leader we can all believe in. Better yet, if we believe in Jesus, he gives us what he promises.

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