Passages for reflection: The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40
Father in heaven,
The week ahead of us begs our attention and makes invitation to consider the most important of questions: Who is Jesus? The crowds knew Your Son as a healer: they sought Him in the brokenness of their bodies, in the despairing and dark valleys of disease and death. It was Jesus who fed them bread and fish along with every word that proceeds from Your mouth. It was Jesus, moved by the compassion that has eternally been yours, who touched them and made them whole. How tender and patient you were with their slowness of heart and the deliberate choosing of their ignorance, they who had not eyes to see, nor ears to hear, nor hearts inclined to turn and be healed. You loved the crowd whose hosanna shouts, would, in time, turn murderous.
We are like them in every way, awed whenever it is Your will to visit upon us miracles, marvelling at every spectacle of your power, seized by the emotional frenzy of hosanna when it appears that the happy endings will finally be ours. More often than we would like to admit, our cries of jubilant praise rise from the ugly depths of our self-interest: we demand a saviour of our own design.
In less than a week's time, their chorus - and ours - dissolves into a chant: Crucify him, crucify him. How fickle our affections and disloyal out hearts. We have wanted a King to crown, rejecting a King to whom we must bend. Is that why, upon entering Jerusalem, You shed Your tears and wished we had known the things that make for peace?
We have not always recognized you, high and humble King and Savior of the simple. The disappointments and failed expectations that have been ours (oh, how we have wanted you to rout the enemy and make all wrongs right!) have obscured your light. When You have not given us what we've wanted, it is to darkness that we have made our return.
Even today, a day I mean to say, "Hosanna!" and mean to claim my true allegiance to the risen King Jesus, is a day, like any other, where I will fail my resolve of praise. I am corrupted by false expectations and limited in my inability to apprehend the breadth and beauty of Your shimmering glory. But Savior King, riding on the donkey, it is your great joy to set your face towards Jerusalem and endure the shame of the cross on my behalf as a willing substitute for me, and yes, for every one of your half-hearted fans.
Thanks be to God for the indescribable gift of grace.