The image of Palm Sunday is one of the greatest ironies. Jesus Christ – the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, the Morning Star, the Savior of all Humanity, and we can list descriptives after descriptives – rides into a procession of “Hosanna, Hosanna…Hosanna in the Highest” - on a donkey – aka - an ass.
Jesus rides in on an ass at his own Inauguration. Goodness gracious.
My friend, Shane Claiborne, shares that a modern equivalent of such an incredulous image is of the most powerful person in our modern world, the United States President, riding into a procession…on a unicycle.
I’ll be honest: I would have asked for a chariot or at least an Aston Martin. But that’s just me.
But Jesus does this for a reason. In fact, everything he does has a reason. His whole life is a model of the Kingdom of God. But if that is so, why are we as Christians so enamored with power? Why are we – even as Christians – still so enamored, fighting, and jostling with who gets to the sit by Jesus at the table?
How do we continue our call to be Light and Salt; to love mercy, seek justice; to preach and live out the Gospel – all while modeling the very nature of Christ?
I enjoyed the reflections of another friend, Christine Sine (from Seattle) who as part of her Are You Ready for Easter reflections on Palm Sunday, shared the following thoughts:
Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem was obviously headed for a collision with the powerful Roman empire - collision that would cost his life and change history forever.
The question for all of us as we approach this Palm Sunday is where is our allegiance. The question for us on this morning is where do we find ourselves in these pictures? Are we part of that ragamuffin discipleship band following Jesus fully aware that we are on a collision course with the values of our secular culture? Are we some of the misguided enthusiasts, cheering our own idea of a messiah, that looks more like the Roman emperor than the humble Jesus? Are we enamoured of an idea that has little to do with what Jesus has come to teach? Do we only want to follow a Jesus when we think he promises health and happiness here and now. Have we so misunderstood him and his purpose and that we are ready to turn against him when he turns out not to be who we thought he was?
Perhaps however, we’re not part of Jesus’ procession at all. Perhaps we’re standing at the other gate, cheering for the symbols of empire. Dazzled by power, attracted to wealth, wanting to identify with the victors, not the vanquished, hoping to be counted as one of the elites of our time.
Actually most of us are probably part of both processions – wanting to follow this Jesus whom we find so don’t fully understand but also caught up in the excitement of Easter egg hunts and spring fashion displays
And the beauty is that Jesus, in his humanity, sees and knows all of us. . . the flawed humanity that surrounds him. . . the flawed humanity of each of us. . . and he sees it and he forgives it, and loves us, and gives his blessing to all of us as he clops along the dusty road toward his confrontation with power, his time of trial, his abandonment, his death.