Beyond Success or Failure

Holy week that begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter provides the stark contrast of apparent success and failure experienced by Jesus. At the beginning of the week, Jesus seems to be experiencing extraordinary success, with adoring crowds worshiping him as he entered Jerusalem. From the human perspective, Jesus is winning the popular vote hands down, and garnering a hero's welcome such as a victorious king might receive returning from a successful battle.  But in just a few days the bloom comes off the rose, the table is turned over, and Jesus becomes an embattled messenger. He is vilified, betrayed and abandoned by his closest friends to face alone the worst fate imaginable.  From our mortal mind's eye, this scenario is the epitome of a miserable failure.
 
Beyond appearances, this week of highs and lows carries a much deeper message that can serve as a powerful metaphor for the days, weeks, or moments of ups and downs that arise in our own journey.  From the spiritual perspective, articulated and demonstrated by the one who maintained that his kingdom was not of this world, the outer events were not the real measurables from his journey.  Jesus would likely agree with the assessment that success and failure are two sides of the same coin. That coin is judgment born of limited human perception. 
 
Jesus was not caught up in the adulation that sought to externalize his value, nor the condemnation that sought to take him down.  Jesus knew who he was and knew his mission was to speak and live the message of Truth regardless of whether that message brought him praise or blame.  The truth that he proclaimed sets us free, liberated Jesus from identification with an external image or public stature regardless of the latest poll results. 
 
No matter what may arise on the road of life, we do not have to lose ourselves in it.  By staying true to our spiritual purpose, and remaining online with the Divine, we can succeed in the true mission that we share with Jesus - to bear witness to the eternal Spirit in which we live and move and have our being.
 
Join us Sunday as we look at the challenges of our life through the context of the hero's journey, and recognize the spiritual gains made possible through human difficulties.
 
With you, in faith,
Rev. Larry