The palms have been waved and the Alleluias have been shouted as we move quickly into the story of Jesus’ last days of earthly ministry. This year, perhaps more than other years, I identify with those crowds longing for a parade. The handful of times I’ve been in a crowd this past year it has been to serve as a chaplain for marches and rally for justice and while it was a necessity that brought me out to serve, it honestly felt really good to be around people again. Crowds and parades have an undeniable energy about them.
The people lining Jesus’ path with their cloaks and waving their palms were looking for hope, for good news, for an end to being under someone else’s (or viruses) rule. Me too. The people needed joy, a reason to celebrate, and a person to point to who could make it all better. Me too. The people needed the anticipation of a turning point, a point when their struggles would lessen. Me too.
A replacement king, struggles eased, the end of being ruled by opposing forces all sound good but what if this isn’t the real turning point the people think it is?
What if it is only a sliver of what God intends?
What if God’s kingdom looks less like replacing the bad with the good and more like overturning our death dealing ways to usher in new life for everyone? Or as Richard Rohr likes to say, “When God’s kingdom comes, your kingdom goes.”
As our Gospel story continues and the echoes of Hosanna are still ringing in the air we hear that Jesus weeps over Jerusalem. It’s a stark contrast to the cloaks and the singing and the waving. But Jesus enters to do what he is called to do: keep turning us toward God’s vision and grace, which is so much more than a parade, so much more than one king replacing another, so much more than we can imagine. May we keep leaning into all the turning points of this week and believe that God keeps turning us all the way into new life.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Let us pray:
We are turning, Lord, to hear you, see you, and know you. You are merciful and kind, slow to anger, rich in blessings. With every twist and turn, lead our steps back to your grace and your mercy. Lead us in your ways of new life, forgiveness, and re-creation. We pray in the name of Christ, the one who reveals your love, Amen.