'You who took the branches green and waved them high above the crowd
Did you realise that next week you would scream for sacrifice.'
Lines from a Palm Sunday song a friend of mine wrote a few years back.
I want more money spent on my kids' school. I don't want to be caught on camera ignoring a traffic sign. I want agencies safeguarding children to be perfect. I don't want my chosen life-partner's behaviour to be a surprise to me.
Stories from today's show.
I want. I don't want.
'I want, can't have' said my Mum about ten thousand times.
The life skill we need to develop is to pilot our boat of potential selfishness through the choppy waters of other people's needs. What provides the most good for the greatest number of people? That is the question asked by the philosophy utilitarianism. How to maximise benefit and reduce harm?
Trouble is we are human. In the Bible St Paul wrestled with this. He observed that he felt wretched because he did what he didn't want to do and didn't do what he should do. It has ever been thus (beat) because selfishness, weakness and negligence get the better of us. All of us. However hard we try.
Some of you listening this morning will believe in God. God who wants us to move from selfishness to service. Others will be happy simply with the utilitarianism. Trying to be good.
We embark on a journey in the Christian Church this weekend, following Jesus' last days from Palm Sunday through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and arriving at Easter Sunday.
It reminds us that things don't always work out how we would want. But they do work out.