In every group, community, organization… there is a small portion, maybe 10 percent, who will view the glass as half full. Who will look through optimistic eyes, who will search for signs of progress and hope. Those individuals will subscribe to the mission and vision of that group and from this group typically comes its leaders, champions, and advocates.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who see the glass as half empty. This 10 percent will take the pessimistic view, often fearing change and risk. Sometimes, it is this group that seeks to undermine the work of the group, even trying to ensure its failure.
Then there is the majority. All of us who are in the middle. We wait and watch. We observe. We take risks but only after some evaluation of the pros and the cons. We are sometimes influenced heavily by the actions and words of those in the optimistic camp… and those in the pessimistic one. We ultimately decide the fate of the group… but we take stock and we move cautiously.
Social scientists tell us about this phenomenon. People who study corporate culture talk about the fact that the very best organizations are the ones where the middle majority are mostly influenced by the positive forces. Bad organizations… by the negative, toxic forces.
Today we begin Holy Week, that time in our Church calendar when we consider all of the events that took place from the time Jesus entered Jerusalem to the time he was buried there. Those fateful events contain lessons in celebration and triumph, defeat and desolation. And it puts the social scientists’ theories about group dynamics clearly on display.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, an event we celebrate today on Palm Sunday, the crowds were cheering, adoring. And within that crowd, there were those who would stay with Jesus through thick and thin, no matter the course or circumstance. At the same time, there was the small group who was already plotting against him. The middle majority was caught up in the moment, cheering him into their city.
Later this week, we will consider the trial, the scourging, the death of Jesus. On Good Friday, we see him largely abandoned, mostly alone. The middle majority was nowhere to be found.
Holy Week shows us that Jesus’ love for us is greater than the abuse he suffered. Greater than defeat. Greater than abandonment. Greater than rejection. Greater than denial. Greater than the suffering. And greater than death.
Some of us here are in the glass is half full minority. Some of us here are in the glass is half empty minority. Most of us here are in the middle majority. We wait and we watch. This coming week… let us be moved and motivated to accompany Him through his triumphs and through his trials. Let us be by his side as he is always by ours.
On Thursday night of this week at 7:30 here, we will consider his greatest prayer, his parting words, his celebration of the Eucharist, his lesson of sacrifice.
On Friday night of this week at 7:30 here, we will experience his passion, his time upon the cross. We will accompany him up the hill and toward it. We will approach the cross ourselves.
And on Saturday night we will witness the dark turn to light: narratively, liturgically, musically, and visually.
Fellow members of the middle majority… let us accompany Him…