This week, I've been thinking about parades. When was the last time you were at a parade? A Pride parade? A protest march? There is an energy in all of these settings, a collective power and the joy that comes with being part of a community. I wonder if that's what all those people in Jerusalem felt as Jesus' entry into the city rapidly became a parade. What moved them, as they waved palm branches, as they lay palm branches and cloaks on the ground, to honor Jesus at they would a king?
I can almost hear the shouts: "Hosanna! Hosanna!" Did you know that means "Save us," "Save me"? Almost certainly, the people hoped that Jesus would somehow overthrow the Roman occupiers. That he would step into the throne of David, and they would have a messiah, a savior, to rule over them with justice. But in the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus' procession into Jerusalem is immediately followed by his prediction of Jerusalem's destruction and his clearing the temple of all those selling things.
Even though it should be clear to all that Jesus is not going to start a coup against the Roman rulers, Jesus' rabble-rousing is getting noticed by those in charge. Especially the religious leaders who benefit from the status quo. Jesus is encouraging people to think for themselves and he is putting the focus on love, right relationship, integrity and the common good instead of on the law, right belief, tradition or the current system that leaves many sidelined.
I can't help but notice how quickly the crowd changes its tune about Jesus -- on Sunday asking him to save them and on Friday calling for his execution. I can't help but feel convicted. When am I like those religious leaders desiring the status quo, calling for right belief and following the rules even when these things are to the detriment of my neighbors, God's beloved children? When am I like the crowd, simply going with the flow? Repeating the words that the loudest voices are calling out? Perhaps when I am struggling to determine my own beliefs or values. Perhaps when I fear standing up for what I know to be right. Perhaps when I fear what others will think of me.
On Sunday, we will hear the story of Jesus from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem to his crucifixion. You will be invited into the story, and throughout our re-telling of the last week of Jesus' life, we will hear and sing together. I hope you'll join us for our Palm Sunday worship!
And don't forget, Friday is our Youth Extravaganza! Please plan to attend and to bring friends and neighbors to support our children and youth participating in mission trips!
With love and blessings,