From the time I was a child this week has been special to me. It was known as “Holy Week” in my (former) Catholic tradition, and since I went to a parochial school daily mass was how we started the school day. Each day of this week contained something special to mark the upcoming solemn day of Holy Friday.
Palm Sunday began the ritual and I so looked forward to the liturgy that day! It was the day the congregation got to speak as we read our responses during the mass. Hearing the story from the Gospel of how Jesus instructed His disciples to procure the donkey and how He rode through town being worshiped by the people painted vivid pictures in my mind.
I would have been one of them, had I been alive then. I would have pushed and shoved my way to the edge of the road to see Him go by, and I would have been screaming “Hosanna!” as Jesus passed before me. I know me; I would have been a Jesus follower back then. I would have wanted to be near Him and be a part of what He was doing.
I would have wanted Him to be the King, as the other people did. Surely One so wise and gentle would not be an oppressive ruler as the Romans were, and because He was obviously from God His yolk would be light and our burdens would be few. I would have worshiped Him. Had I seen Him perform any of those miracles, I would have been sold- once I was sure there was no slight of hand going on…
I also know that the wickedness of my heart is so great that as the week went on, and Friday rolled around, there is a pretty good chance I would have been screaming “crucify Him” along with the others too. If not screaming, then I would have stood somewhere near the back of the crowd watching silently, waiting to see what would happen.
I would have been quietly urging Him to do something to put an end to this! And as He stood silent, bloodied and beaten…I would have doubted…I would have wondered…I would have most likely believed what the religious leaders were saying about Him. As much as I wish I would be able to say with complete confidence that I would not have been among that number, I cannot.
I recall being very disappointed at the people who worshiped along side of the road in my Catholic liturgy. I did not understand how they could stop believing Jesus and want to kill him just a few short days after this event. They had desires that Jesus was not willing to fulfill, their hearts were set on themselves and what they wanted from Him.
Many of the hurting people we disciple weekly are in the same place. We believe because we have seen God do something tangible in our lives or someone else’s and we carry that expectation He will do something spectacular for us. We believe because we hope beyond hope that God has something for us specifically and if it does not materialize the way we think it ought to then our faith wanes and our doubts surge. We turn from worshipers to rock throwers.
No one in this place is proud of this truth; we experience shame at out lack of faith and our doubts. Rest assured, our Lord is aware of all of it and has been since before the foundations of the world were set in place. As He rode down the path on the back of a colt He saw you and He saw me along side of the road. He heard our cries of worship knowing that our hearts were soiled by “self” – and it did not matter. He came and died for that very reason; because we are so sick with sin. Do not hide yourself from Him, beloved. Come before Him and lay yourself bare. He is there, waiting.
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