Marking the annual Palm Sunday celebrations and the start of a week-long visit to the Holy Land, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached March 16 at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem at the invitation of Bishop Suheil Dawani of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
Here is an excerpt:
In this land called holy, we still wait for that prince of peace. We still seek a Lord who will work a reconciled peace with justice, here and around the globe. No wonder that, as the gospel says, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole town was in turmoil. Who is this prophet? He promises another kind of kingdom, another realm where there will be no longer be any hungry or sick or imprisoned ones, no unemployed, none who are segregated from their neighbors and treated with a different justice because of ethnicity or religion.
The turmoil Jesus stirred up ended in his execution as an enemy of the state. Prophets tend to do that -- stir things up and end up dead. That is part of the invitation Jesus offers each of us, to pick up our cross, to die to self, to proclaim the word of God in human flesh and that divine dream of peace, and to be willing to die to everything else. Stir things up, for this world certainly hasn't yet reached that divine dream of salaam and shalom. And, yes, recognize that death will be involved. There is no possibility of new life, of resurrection, without death. We will never know a healed world unless the systems that depend on violence or armed guards to maintain them die.
We share the great hope of Jesus the anointed one, because we are made of the same mortal flesh, and we, too, have been anointed to preach peace to the poor and deliverance to the captives. We died with Jesus in the waters of baptism, and we rise with him as well. We have been invited into this journey with him, this blood-red and passionate journey of sacrifice, making holy this yet unhealed world. His road into the eternal city of peace leads past the cross. It includes turmoil and threat, but it is meant to be answered by the methods of peace -- palm branches and donkeys, truth-telling and the unexpected wind of the spirit.
Read the sermon here.
Here is an audio file.
See also this accompanying story of her visit. One portion:
On behalf of the Jerusalem diocese, Dawani expressed his appreciation to the Presiding Bishop for her pastoral visit, noting that they "will work together with all Anglicans to promote peace, justice and reconciliation in the land of the holy one.
"I am sure it is really a joint effort," he said.
The Rev. Canon Hosam Naoum, acting dean of St. George's, described the Presiding Bishop's visit as a historic moment. "With all the differences in the Anglican Communion today, I see her as a uniting figure who brings beliefs and understandings and cultures of other people around the world," he said.
Episcopal Life has a video update of the Presiding Bishop's visit to the Holy Land here.