Jesus enters Jerusalem as a victor, a hero and in less than a week, He is crucified. How quickly things change. Highs become lows, things turn quickly and we left to ponder why? Palm Sunday reminds us that victories rarely happen in front of cheering crowds. Victory are won in out of the way places and with a determined confidence born of adversity. The disciples of Jesus signed up for a Kingdom now and could not grasp the victory of which Jesus spoke. It is still true today, I imagine a conquering Jesus more easily than I do the suffering Jesus. Might make right seems more sensible than “turn the other cheek.” I am more attracted to leadership that demands a place at the table, not the kind that humbles itself like a child. Looking out for number one seems a better plan than “If anyone would follow me let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” Jesus reminds us that He is willing to trade palm branches for a crown of thorns. He is willing to forgo the adoring crowd and stand alone. He traded the earthly thrones for a cross. The way of the Kingdom always has a cross in the middle of it and it beckons us to this day: come and die.
Yesterday there was a freak Winter storm in my part of the world. On Friday it was so sunny and bright and warm at least by midwest standards. I imagined a weekend of warm sunny temperatures. Then Saturday morning it started snowing and 12 hours later we had over nine inches of snow. The lesson: never judge tomorrow by today. That is the lesson of Holy Week and Easter as well. In one week we go from a triumphal entrance to a mock trial and a painful crucifixion to an empty tomb. God always has the final word. This week calls for introspection and reflection. May the Lord speak to us about His will and His Kingdom. May we hold loosely to the things that glitter and shine and listen to His voice. As we listen for his voice may we also listen to each other. Listen more deeply than sound bites and preconceived notions about what others are thinking. May we reorient ourselves to the unshakable Kingdom and build our lives and values on the Rock Christ Jesus? May I ponder the paradox of the Kingdom, to live you have to die, to lead you must serve, to be significant you become insignificant in the way the world describes importance. The cross is a constant reminder that it is not by striving and achieving I am accepted, I am accepted by Grace through faith.