Less and More

Today is Palm Sunday. The service this morning was a narrative performed through responsive reading. We began with the cry of Hosanna! Save us! For we are beginning to see our brokenness: refusal to mend relationships, or a tight hold to addictions of food and TV, or a generally selfish and mediocre life. We come to Christ empty–save us!

How is it that excess creates emptiness? It’s true though: the more we have, the more likely we are to become complacent, to no longer enjoy, growing lonely and void. We see it hyperbolically in others’ lives, like the young man who retreats from the world into computer simulation. He lets go of the firm, the real, the people who truly care about him to become an empty, pixelated character–and this is what we are all doing, isn’t it?

This afternoon, Zach and I read the introductory chapter the Mennonite cookbook More-with-Less. As two people who love to cook and create rich flavor with abandon, we were both convicted. The writer, Doris Janzen Longacre, said, “Serving guests becomes an ego trip, rather than a relaxed meeting of friends around that most common everyday experience of sharing food. Gathering around the table in fellowship turns into entertaining. . . . We work hard to make eating more exciting. We satiate our taste buds and stomachs. But something in us is not satisfied. We have gotten less with more.” The excess of our lives traps us from enjoying good food because we have good food all the time. It traps us from being alive in our own stories because we too often watch and read sensational fiction. We even become trapped from the real tragedy–the true story–of Christ because our society builds a world of fake saviors in food and television and our own billfolds.

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Forgive us our trespasses.

And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Forgive us our trespasses.

And the people stood by, watching. But the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others: let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God!”

Forgive us our trespasses.

The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar. There was an inscription over Him: “This is the King of the Jews.”

Forgive us our trespasses; forgive us, O Lord, our trespasses!

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