One thing that Palm Sunday always reminds me of is that in life there are always two narratives going on, the one is about what I think is going on, one filled with what I think is grandeur, glory and personal fulfillment, filled with palms and shouts of hosanna and a crowd marching, and the other is about what God is doing, about what is really going on, humility and self sacrifice and giving, and love for others, as God intervenes in our everyday lives and reorders, rearranges and re-prioritizes our existence. Walking with Jesus means that very often we won’t understand what is going on immediately, we won’t gather the full meaning, until after the fact, but Jesus knows exactly what He is doing and why He is doing it, when He is doing it. Going into Jerusalem that day the people were welcoming their King, ( an act that could have caused the Romans to send out the troops and squash a potential rebellion) but Jesus didn’t stop them even though they didn’t understand exactly what was about to happen, in fact He said that the very stones would sing, if the people refrained.
When one knows the outcome, the way that we approach things is very different to when we are uncertain of the outcome. Our expectations of someone or something contribute to how we react and interact with the situation. Those that we read about in scripture did not have the luxury of knowing the outcome, even though it had been foretold. We do know, and so that way that we should approach the story, the narrative is to allow our certainty to change the way that we act when faced with the Narrative of God saving the world.
On Palm Sunday the people laying down their cloaks, were welcoming their King who was coming to overthrow the Roman Government. A King coming to fulfill an ancient prophecy that they would be re-established as the political power of Israel, overthrowing the Romans and establishing the Kingdom of God. They were partly right! As Jesus entered Jerusalem He was coming to overthrow, but not the Roman Government, not earthly power, but the power of sin and death, the kingdom of this world was to be overthrown and the Kingdom of God re-established and He Himself would sit on the throne not in the earthly Jerusalem but in the New Jerusalem. King’s coming to celebrate victory would ride a white horse; King’s coming in peace would ride on a donkey. Jesus is coming in humility, with great power, the power over death, hatred, fear, abuse of power, self centeredness, and the desire for personal gain that leads to corruption. Jesus comes with the power of love!
So often in our own lives we are praising God expecting things to be done in a certain way only to find that what God is doing is much bigger and much broader with eternity in mind and not just the immediate. Power to give and to love not to overthrow and to dominate.
Palm Sunday is a great reminder that the narrative that we author in our own lives normally differs greatly from the narrative that God is unfolding in our lives.
Jesus comes with great courage, He comes in love and gives Himself for the world.
If we are to walk with Jesus then we are to have great courage, and humility, and obedience to God and a willingness to serve others, even our enemies, sharing in Jesus’ death and then in His resurrection.
This Holy Week allow God to re-order your life story, to change your perspective on what life is all about. The hope for the world lies in a self-sacrificing love for the world , allow God to re-order your religion as He clears the Temple, weep with Jesus over Jerusalem (as you weep for our country and our world) allow God to re-order your life and to redefine your freedom as you share the Passover meal, allow God to put to death the power of this world over your life on the Cross that sets you free, so that you can recommit to God as you re-discover what it means to be crucified with Christ and resurrected in Him.
A blessed Holy Week to you!