Good morning all! We are kicking off Holy Week this morning! Can you believe it?
Today’s scripture: John 12: 12-17
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna!Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify.
As a kid, Palm Sunday was the best! We would get those ferns that look like swords, not necessarily full on palms. The palms we got on Palm Sunday were the best for tickling or poking little brothers. Even my mom would be in on it….heck, she was the instigator of it all. Palm Sunday was full of fun. Plus you got to walk around the sanctuary while you sang something about the palms.
Now as I prepare to preach about the palms. I realize that this isn’t just about a parade. There is excitement in the air but it is because a revolution is being staged. This is about people getting excited for a new king. This celebration isn’t about “sword” fights but about a new way of life. When the air tingles with possibility….it is about that.
This is the tension that we hang in this morning. As followers of Jesus, we know that the week will take a turn but try holding onto the excitement of revolution this morning. How will the world transform today?
David Lose writes a blog and in it yesterday he wrote about Palm Sunday and included a poem. I believe it captures something for us today. He says about it….
The poem below is by Welsh poet R. S. Thomas. Named “The Kingdom,” it catches something, I think, of what those crowds longer for so long ago…and we still crave today.
It’s a long way off but inside it
There are quite different things going on:
Festivals at which the poor man
Is king and the consumptive is
Healed; mirrors in which the blind look
At themselves and love looks at them
Back; and industry is for mending
The bent bones and the minds fractured
By life. It’s a long way off, but to get
There takes no time and admission
Is free, if you purge yourself
Of desire, and present yourself with
Your need only and the simple offering
Of your faith, green as a leaf.
R. S. Thomas, “The Kingdom,” from Collected Poems, 1945-1990.