The Palm Sunday Road

Today’s Gospel Passage:  Luke 19: 28-40

After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem…As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

We like the idea of a parade.  We like being part of a celebration, part of the winning crowd.  This day is glorious.  Jesus winds down the road from the Mount of Olives toward the garden.  Everyone is cheering and shouting.  This is the way it should be.  So we throw our cloaks on the road in front of him.  We want to be part of the crowd.  The cheering is louder and louder.  We are going to take the city by storm.

The problem is that we like the celebration a little too much.  When the crowd begins to quiet and drift away, we follow them.  We were never really part of it at all.  We were really just mere bystanders enjoying the show.  And when the show ends as the road turns toward Jerusalem, we lose interest.  We drift away, now cloaked in silence.

Jesus never meant to be the star of a parade or the honoree at a celebration.  He really could have cared less whether or not we threw our cloaks on the ground in front of him.  I think what he really wanted was for us to finish the journey.  He wanted us to follow.  But instead we drifted away in silence.  And we left it to the stones to shout.  The road that we journey this week is not easy.  It is steep and uneven.  And the shouting stones and clanging iron against wood will be deafening.  But this is the way to peace; this is the way to glory.  Do not leave yet.  Instead, leave your cloak on the road and walk over it yourself.  Follow Jesus.  The road has not ended. 

Into the city I’d follow the children’s band, waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand; one of his heralds, yes, I would sing loudest hosannas, “Jesus is King!” (From “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”, William H. Parker)

Grace and Peace,


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