Tuesday, March 27, 2012


On those rare evenings when I am free and actually have control of the remote control, I often give up and mutter to myself a truism penned by singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen, “A message came back from the great beyond / there’s fifty-seven channels’ and nothin’ on.”

After putting down the remote someone else usually tries to find something to watch. I can only imagine that they have also yielded to the inevitable and finding nothing to watch, settle on a design show. It is unavoidable therefore that, through a kind of osmosis, I have learned about complementary and contrasting design.

Due to the limits of this 336 word article I will focus on contrast. And today, Palm Sunday is all about contrasts. Perhaps the most striking is a parade. Jesus riding into town on a donkey with some unemployed fishers and the crowd joyfully waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!” Hosanna is a liturgical word associated with salvation, in this context it means “save us.” In a less charged situation it might only mean, “pray.”

The contrast in this event in the life of Jesus is not even mentioned in the Bible. The Gospel writers perhaps assumed everyone knew what was happening across town at the same time. Pontius Pilate, the governor, was also at the head of a parade, but his transport was a war horse, his companions were soldiers and the people were fearful.

Another contrast is the cross itself. On Palm Sunday we remember that “his crown is thorns and his throne a cross” and we distribute palm crosses to everyone. The cross is, in fact, a tool of torture, death and intimidation. It resulted in what is perhaps one of the most awful kinds of death and sickened even the most hardened executioner. But by contract, the church, in its wisdom turned this tool of hate and fear into a powerful symbol of love and hope. By contrast, this tool of death has been transformed for us as “the way of life.”

No comments: