From Pastor Pat: Palm Sunday's promise
(Posted April 6, 2017)
There’s something promising about Palm Sunday that’s unlike other Sundays. First of all, when you come to church it almost smells like Spring. The scent of freshly harvested palms lends a “green-ness” to the air. Most of the people around us have shed the dark clothes of winter, and are almost dressed for Easter. Even the music may have a “Hosanna” or two thrown in for good measure. It’s almost, but not quite, Easter. But what Palm Sunday does is to boost our hope.
I always enjoy religious leaders of any denomination who aren’t afraid to “get with the times.” This morning it was Pope Francis who took to Twitter to remind us that “Hope helps believers to be open to the surprises God has in store for us.”
Even though it was 2,000 years ago, the Palm Sunday Parade into Jerusalem should speak to us about hope in a way that should be familiar to our current state of affairs in this country. Not everyone hopes in the same way. Perhaps the first thing we should ask ourselves Is what are we hoping for?
Some of that crowd that gathered at the Gates of the city were hoping for a great leader, a War Horse, someone who would crush the powers of Empire and make the streets run with blood. Eliminate the enemy. What they got instead was a rabbi astride a donkey’s colt who had brought healing to the towns around Jerusalem. Other people in the crowd, the ones who had followed Jesus this far, got a man who they hoped would help cleanse the evil parts of Jerusalem and bring the city peace. But even in the wake of Jesus passing by on his donkey, I am sure that some of the children in the crowd were not waving their palms in salute, but using them as make-believe swords, and battling one another – just as our kids do today. It takes more than one exposure to God’s love to convert one’s heart to peace. And just as involved in the demonstration, there were people lurking in that crowd that were hoping, too – hoping that Jesus would make just one political mistake so they could capture him, destroy him, and take back from him the hope he brought to town so that THEY could once again become the power brokers of that wonderful thing – hope, and dangle it before the people to control them.
I guess the advice for Palm Sunday is not be careful what you pray for, but be careful what you hope for. Be aware that the difference between a Good Friday Morning and an Easter Morning lies in our own commitment to the message of Christ, to live it even in the face of opposition to the powers that be.
See you Sunday at 10 AM. ---- Pastor Pat Kriss