Have you ever been to New Orleans? Have you been there long enough to encounter a funeral procession? It usually includes a marching band, often a horse and carriage with the coffin, a jazz band, and a HUGE party dressed in white following behind. When the band starts When the Saints Go Marching In, I always feel like joining in too. It is jolting to those familiar with stark, all black dressed, solemn affairs.
Today we get a party – a parade – a triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. It is Palm Sunday all over again.
If you have been hanging out with me with Morning Reflections for some time, you know that sometimes the lectionary can bounce around quite a bit. Today we get Luke’s reading of Jesus triumphantly riding into Jerusalem. It may seem like an odd time to encounter this story again, but the daily lectionary is naturally flowing through the gospel of Luke.
So Jesus enters on a colt that has never been ridden. Those who own the colt are told “The Lord needs it.” People spread cloaks. Down the path from the Mount of Olives, people shout, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Luke is a wonderful gospel. He even states in his purpose that he is looking for accuracy, and in the process he provides us with a story that is done with extreme care. I love his details. And I love the sweep of Jesus’ history that he gives. (For that reason I like that the lectionary is just marching through Luke, and NOT bouncing around like it sometimes does!)
Luke’s style is so different from the other writers. For him, Jesus is often the object of the story. Sometimes he is a pawn in the story, being swept by the powers and corruption at work. The whole gospel, in many ways, becomes a sweep from the Galilee to Jerusalem – a journey, if you will – a journey that is God-led, the Spirit of God sweeping into our lives and providing us with a Savior who goes to his death on a cross.
By this time in the story, the winds have gathered. What began in the 10th Chapter is now a journey that has brought people from near and far, knowing the Savior of the World is about to enter through the Golden Gate, and sweep Rome from the earth.
Well, we know that doesn’t happen. God has other plans with what people need – they need to be SAVED FROM THEMSELVES, not from Rome.
In many ways, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem has more to do with us than it does with Jesus. Where do our allegiances lie? How far will we follow Jesus? Who is our Savior? How will we choose to be part of the parade?
You see, there are people who simple watch the parade, and there are others, who after the last colt goes by, become part of the parade. Will we be joining the march to Golgotha? What is our Golgotha in these days? How will we be salt, and light, and take ourselves on a journey out of our comfort zone?
They are big questions, and they require big answers.