For Christians this week between Palm Sunday and Easter, known as “Holy Week”, is the commemoration of the clash between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of heaven, or between Caesar and the Lord.
The moment in time about 1983 years ago occurred in Jerusalem, which was then under Roman occupation. It was the pilgrim festival of Passover when people from all over the diaspora returned to Jerusalem to worship at the holy temple and remember their freedom form slavery in Egypt.
This was always a tense time. The procurator, Pontius Pilate, traveled from Caesarea to Jerusalem and took up residence in Herod the Great’s old fortress palace on the temple mount. He brought his fierce Syrian mercenaries with him in case a riot broke out among the agitators such as the Zealots an Sicarii.
Into this mix rode a poor rabbi who had a following. People who had been for too long enslaved by a repressive regime cried out, proclaiming this peaceful teacher as the new king from the house of David.
The kingdom of the world could not abide such a threat to their coercive power. They rejected the power of loving kindness and the Roman Empire put this gentle man to death.
The coercive powers of this world have always been threatened by the real power of love. It seems out of place and those who preach it are considered unrealistic or at best too idealistic wit7h their heads in the clouds.
But it behooves the powers of this world to remember that Rome fell. It lasted for a long time, but it fell. The gentle rabbi? The religion that worships Him is the largest in the world. Kingdoms of this world rise and fall, but it appears as if the kingdom defined by loving-kindness, (hesed in Hebrew), has staying power.
Something to think about in this less than savory election year. But, what do you think?