Parade – a Celebration or a Demonstration

I’m finally ready to admit it’s Spring! The lilac bushes outside my office window are lit up with tiny, bright green tips like a bush of magic wands challenging my doubt. From winter’s sleeping comes new growth – how amazing! It’s equally hard to believe that Palm Sunday is THIS week. I hope you can plan to arrive at church EARLY – 9:40 a.m. – for intergenerational activities (making ‘protest’ signs for our own palm parade) and a re-telling of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

The ancient festival of Passover celebrates the Israelites redemption from slavery in Egypt, as originally told in the book of Exodus. Imagine being a refugee in a foreign country (I think of millions of Syrians) and finally after centuries, going home. Now that’s a party worth having every year!

However, in the midst of this extravagant week-long party with thousands of visiting family and friends, there is an apparently unrelated event happening – a parade. Is it a celebration or a demonstration? From one end of Jerusalem, Pilate rides his powerful charger demonstrating his power and authority while being applauded ferociously by the Roman and Jewish elite. From the other end of town, comes Jesus riding a young colt, waved on by the downtrodden shouting “Hosanna!” (save us!) demonstrating the power and authority of God. In this community-focused entry, Jesus is demonstrating, even protesting, the abuse of power by some to the detriment of others. This has contemporary implications with a president who is governing by executive order and a congress who seems powered by greed; neither shows much compassion for the downtrodden, or the refugee.

JOIN US at 9:40 a.m. in Fellowship Hall to make ‘protest’ signs for our own palm parade of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Loving God, let us pause in the paradox to absorb the powerful truth of the Palm Sunday story. Let us reflect on our participation in the death of Jesus Christ, that we might ever more celebrate the new life offered to us in his resurrection. Amen.

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