Well friends, it finally happened.
I missed a day.
Actually, straight up, did not write anything, missed a day.
And on Palm Sunday of all days!
But you know what I was doing instead of blogging? Officiating a wedding. It was incredible to be able to join two of my friends together in holy, beautiful, messy marriage. I am so excited that I have begun officiating weddings! It is seriously my JAM. I was so in my element and had an absolute blast doing it. I can’t wait to do it again!
So here’s what I would have written for Palm Sunday, one of my very favorite Sundays of the year!
When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away. Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said, Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.” The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
It’s party time up in Jerusalem! Every bit of detail in this story is significant to the people of the time.
First, let’s look at the waiving palm branches. This had a specific symbolic meaning. It was used to celebrate the Maccabean victory less than two centuries before, when the Jewish Maccabees militarily conquered and retook Jerusalem from pagan overlords. It was what the crowds hoped for when they saw Jesus riding into town on a donkey, which reminded them of King David or King Solomon and their ceremonial ridings into Zion. Except, they didn’t pay attention to the kind of animal Jesus was riding.
Most heroes ride in on a noble steed, not donkeys. Jesus was letting them know off the bat that he was not what they were expecting. He is not the new sheriff in town, badge glinting in the sunlight. But the people ignore his statement.
Jesus bitterly disappointed both the hopeful crowd of pilgrims and his own male disciples during Holy Week. The people of Jerusalem continue to ignore what Jesus is doing and instead focus on what he’s not doing. And when you dash peoples’ highest hopes that severely it is not a surprise that you end up on a cross by the end of the week. Because the people of Jerusalem did not understand that Jesus was not the hero they wanted, but he was the hero the needed.
Let’s also take into account the size of the crowds. Jesus and his disciples are used to huge crowds swarming around them, so much so that they usually sleep outside the city gates. Estimates show that at Passover, Jerusalem went from being a town of 50,000 to a town of 500,000. It just so happens that Passover and the beginning of Holy Week go hand in hand. If you want to make existing authorities including both Jewish and Roman ones nervous, then ride into town making some sort of royal gesture, go into the religious center of the city, namely the Temple and make pronouncements and symbolic actions indicating its coming demise. That will for sure get red flags raised to all the wrong people. It’s almost like Jesus wanted them to hate him…. </sarcasm>
Yesterday when we heard the loud Hosannas, and sang with joy about the coming of our true King, the prince of peace, did we remember his words when he said— ‘if anyone would come after me, let them take up their cross and follow me’, all the way to Golgotha? Did you remember that this week ends on a hill outside of town with Jesus on a cross, put there by the same people who rang him into town with singing and praises?
As we go thought this week together, I hope that you remember Jesus’s journey everyday. We’ll be journeying through the week together, following the footsteps of Jesus along side the disciples.
Peace be with you!