Monday, April 18, 2011

Palm Sunday Reflections

Yesterday the Christian Church celebrated Palm Sunday.  This is the beginning of "Holy Week" for the church as we begin to look toward the death and resurrection of Christ.  Palm Sunday celebrates Christ's reception by the people as he rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. 

Why is this important? 
First of all, these people were celebrating Jesus because they were certain that he was the king, the savior, the hero that was riding into town to save them from their afflictions.  They were sure that he was coming into town to overthrow government and conquer evil.  He was coming to save them right then, in that place.  This happened less than a week before Jesus was nailed to a cross.  Ouch.  Can you imagine what those people must have felt when they watched their "savior" die?  They were sure he must be the one coming to rescue them. They were right, but they misunderstood what that meant.

Secondly, these people are an example to us of true, unadulterated worship.  They did not hold themselves back.  They were shouting "Hosanna" (God save us) and throwing their coats on the road so the donkey had a place to walk.  They were waving branches in celebration.  What a party.  What a great spirit to be caught up in.  I have never imagined this in its fullness before this weekend. 

Race for the Cure.
Yesterday, we went to church at Main Street Church of God in Anderson, IN.  This is not our home church, but it is one that's part of our faith walk.  I was touched as the pastor relayed his own personal experience (and mine) from the day before.  You see, April 16 was the Komen Race for the Cure in Indianapolis.  There were 40,000 + people in the crowd marching through downtown Indianapolis.  There were cheers, tears, shouts, hugs, memories, hopes... so many emotions, so much wonderful commotion.  This was a celebration like none other.  I walked with 20+ family members as we remembered the life of my Aunt Marilyn, and celebrated the life of my Aunt Lorna.

Do you see the sea of people in the picture above?  It was massive.  As I listened to the message yesterday, I began to think of what it must have been like to be part of that other crowd.  The one waving branches and cheering for my savior.  What a beautiful sight.  What perfect worship.  This morning Randy and I were talking about why it is that we don't have Palm Sunday Marches with the whole city.  Why we don't all cry out together "God Save Us".  Why we aren't more like the people in Jerusalem.  I don't have an answer for everyone, but I think I know why it's so difficult for me to just let go.

See, when Jesus was walking through this great crowd, they saw him.  They were people in great need of hope.  They grabbed on to the hope that they could see and clung to it, they shouted about it.  It was all they had.  I live a fat life.  I've got all I need and more.  If you saw all the toys on my boy's floor right now you'd understand.  We're spoiled.  Life is rough sometimes for us, but we make it through and let's be honest: even my roughest periods don't begin to match some folk's good days.  Another reason I don't cry out.  I just can't see Jesus sometimes.  I mean, right, he's not here... but that crowd, they saw him... they were with him, they felt him.  I know I can too, and at times I do, but mostly in my fat life, I forget that I need him.  When I forget that I need him, I don't see him.

I'm sure there were people in Jerusalem that did not cheer, did not celebrate.  Those people likely did not recognize their need for the savior.  They were doing just fine on their own, thank you.  And besides that, how is some man on a donkey going to kick our government out of power?  Yeah.. I'm those people all too often.

Today I find myself challenged.  How do I begin to recognize my deep need for the Savior?  How do I begin to live a life of authentic worship?  How do I reflect these things to others?  I'm working on it, I've been working on it... but there's still so far to go!

I strive to let go and dance freely for my king.


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