Thursday, March 17, 2016

+ Crowds + Hosanna + Crucify + Rise Up +

Daily(ish) blogging in Lent - Day Nineteen
[left to right: crowds, hosanna, crucify, rise up + source]
In 1969, Rubem Alves published A Theology of Human Hope. In it, he spoke of a “new consciousness” emerging in Latin America, in Black America, and among student movements. Though oppressions and privileges varied in severity and shape in these communities, they had in common this: 

among them, in each group’s own context (and struggle), there emerged “a consciousness of being dominated by a power which does not allow it to create its own history (10).” 

Consciousness of poverty and disparity, consciousness of having been made powerless thorough slavery and colonization, consciousness of universities “which are really ‘factories’ which ‘turn out people with all the sharp edges off, the well-rounded person (9),’” were all, at a deeper level, expressions of a new consciousness that the poor, the oppressed, Black and Brown people, and young people were all thrown into a history in which they were not the writers, but the objects; thrown into a game in which they did not help create the rules, and a game they were losing, (and didn’t agree to play in the first place). 

Aware of this closed history, this bad game, this system that did not benefit most people, there was a call for a Holy Maladjustment, a desire to transgress the walls that had kept out and closed in. The system is sick, it leads to death. The system is an idol, it demands human sacrifice. Because we desire life, the system needs to be replaced. 

A death and a resurrection. A dying and a rebirth. 

Language varied in speaking of this consciousness, because new language had to be created to express it.

The powerful resisted new language. The powerful benefit from the silence of the oppressed. 

“Don’t interrupt my story.” “Don’t edit my happy ending.” 


On Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into town on a donkey or two, the Crowds (the 90% of the people who held only 10% of the wealth) gathered. They came not simply shouting praises, but rather, anticipating a New Reign. “Hosanna!” they shouted. “God save us!” Get us out of this mess. Help us. Please. 

The Crowds had a New Consciousness. They had had enough. Of poverty. Of oppression. Of occupation. Of disparity. Of being “unofficial,” “not citizens,” strangers in their own homeland. 

Of being cogs in the Roman machine. 

You are citizens of the Kingdom of God, taught the community that gathered around Jesus. And the Kingdom is near, close, soon, “at hand.” It is in you, among you. Though it is still not yet. 

Pray with me! : 

“Thy Kingdom come.” “Give us bread.” “Deliver us.” 

(This is The Lord’s Prayer). 

And they did for a while. They prayed with Jesus. They rejected Caesar as Lord. They pledged allegiance to another Reign, the Reign of God. 

The Crowds realized their condition, and they gathered in hope, that Jesus might be the One to set all things right. 

They rejoiced when Jesus attacked the abusers in the temple. Hosanna! 
They celebrated the one who would be king. Hosanna! 
They danced in the streets, and celebrated into the night. 

But then they retreated. 

They retreated when Pilate showed up with the guns. 

“Hosanna!” became “Crucify!” 

In no time. 

Power. Control. Fear. 

“God save!” became praises to To Pilate, to Herod, to Caesars, the ones who arrogantly called themselves “sons of the gods.” 

The Son of God—Black, Brown, Student, Indigenous, Gay, Immigrant, Poor—they lynched. 

They hung him from a tree. 

They shut him up. 

The powerful would not have their story rewritten. 

“Don’t edit my happy ending.” 

The Crowds bowed down to the powerful, thinking they might get a cut. They never did. 

Thinking they would not get punished. Perhaps they didn’t. 

Fear of the king, the governor, the system, suppressed the hopes of the Crowds. 


“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world…” (Ephesians 6:12). 
Until it gets scary. 

Then we chill out. Go to the mall. Have a drink. 


The Crowds no longer desired to write their own history, to live into God’s story. They no longer hoped for their children or grandchildren. Instead, they were quiet, assisting the kings as they told their kingly Good News of conquering and exploiting, and made heroes of those who secured them wealth and lands. “You are a hero! You killed for the king as he sat on his throne!” “The Good News of Caesar, the Son of the gods” replaced the Good News of Jesus. (Mark 1:1)

For a while. 

Pilate washed his hands. 

The disciples hid in fear. 

Locked doors. 


This lasted until the Spirit arrived. 

Until Resurrection. 

He appeared among them. 

Thomas was gone. (John 20:24-29)

New Consciousness (re)emerged. 

The Spirit blew. Hard. Violently. There was a windstorm. (Acts 2:2) 
And the disciples took the message of God’s Reign to the streets. 

They took arrests, endured abuses. 

Because they knew that the those in power oppose the New.

But that the New was good, was of God. 

They knew that those in power resist change with jails and negative media and accusations of “treason” and “heresy,” “radicals,” and “instigators.” They know the powerful do not want their story interrupted by a New one, by the story of the Crowds. 

But the Crowds also knew, this time, that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

They knew now that the same Spirit “is in you” that raised Jesus from the dead. (Romans 8:11)

God’s Reign is in you. 

God's Spirit is in you. 

And so is Resurrection. 

You are Resurrection. All of you. Resurrect. 


A new story emerged, was born, was incarnated. A new history. A new reality.  

A narrative. Flesh and blood. 

A community. 

Interruption. Disruption. 



Do you sense a New Consciousness today? Are people aware? Do they care? Are they angry? Are people still crucified? Executed? Why? 

What do you hope for? Does your hope include everyone? Does your hope include the poor, the oppressed? Why? Why not?  

Who do you see as today’s “The Crowds?” 

What does allegiance to God’s Reign mean to you? To your community? To your place of worship?  

What does it mean for you to Resurrect, to Rise Up? 

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