Sermon for March 28, 2021 Palm Sunday “Good Intentions”
Even more that 2000 years after the first palm parade, this day is filled with paradox and contrast. The King of Kings riding on a borrowed donkey colt, the King of Kings not on a red carpet but on quickly gathered palm branches and cloaks, the King of Kings with no army of soldiers, no angels and arch angels but a few men and women and the curious townsfolk.
What is interesting is that on both sides of the city there is a parade of the King of Kings. Jesus on one side and the Emperor on the other. Both claim the same thing. One has the might of army and government on his side the other meekness and obedience. The headlines in the paper the next day would read “who is the King of Kings?”.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves lets back up a bit. Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem and the challenging days that are to come. Along the way he instructs some of the disciples to go on ahead and bring the colt that is there. If there are any questions just say: ‘the master has need of it”. As Jesus begins the ride to Jerusalem the disciples get more excited, the crowd grows, the quiet voices raise in shout and chatter, the way is cleared and finally, so the disciples think, Jesus is going to do what they always had hoped for, overthrow the government and end oppression, form them and the people of God.
Liking a parade all depends on context. I recall years ago travelling across the country, arriving in a small city and being stopped by a parade. There was nothing I could do, there were cars ahead and behind so like everyone else I got out and watched a parade. At first I was annoyed, after all how dare these people interrupt my travel. But then I did watch the parade; was thrilled at the talent in the bands and amused at the local zaniness of some of the floats and in the end was pleased with the distraction and did thoroughly enjoy the local cuisine.
In the parade of Jesus some were there on purpose and some just had their day interrupted and still they waved and shouted and enjoyed the moment. And then went back to their day. Much the same is true today; some will spend the day and week preparing, some will, by accident see the parade, some will not know it is happening at all and some will be at a completely different event.
For me, I am in a place where I can encourage and nudge folks to take notice of what is happening but I cannot force anyone to believe exactly as I do. If I see you at Christmas and Easter I will rejoice and suggest there is more in-between. If I see you in-between I will also rejoice as you discover the depth and richness of faith and spirit.
For all those here and all those with other places to be this day, may we be reminded that God knows where we are, God will put in our way, paths that lead to faith or make the one we are on be the path that leads to God. Today, it is enough that God knows…tomorrow… we may know. The spirit of God works in mysterious ways that always and in all-ways lead to God.
Perhaps Palm Sunday is the moment when we hear a commotion and act on the thought ‘I wonder what is going on?’ and then ask questions, get interested and want to know more. Maybe this is a gateway moment for the elders in faith and the seekers to go deeper and ask “what am I doing or how did I get here?
As we enter Holy Week and we all hold our breath and voices, creation will speak. The parade will end, darkness will cover the earth, the sun will be darkened and the veil of the temple torn in two.
Now…we are required to wait…one of the hardest things humans can be asked to do.
As it is and should be on this day and every day: God’s will be done. Even if we are silent…God’s will be done.