Palm Sunday

When we were little, my sister and I were always organizing the neighborhood kids into "shows." We did all kinds of shows: comedies, dramas, a skit called The Flag for 4th of July (which I wrote so that I could wear my favorite red, white and blue striped terry cloth tank top), magic shows, circuses, and talent shows. God invites us to play in this way too. Biblical festivals have classically included elements of play. Reenacting Passover--a Reader’s Theater type of drama about the night Moses led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, from death to life--was not only an act of remembrance, not only an act of worship, it also prepared the people to recognize the signs of the coming Messiah. They were required to act it out as a fun yearly activity, so that they could be saved.

This week, Holy Week, is full of remembrance and reenactments that prepare our hearts and sanctify us. This morning as soon as I woke up I jumped out of bed thinking, "Today the King comes!" This day is exuberant for me. Maybe it's years of acting it out, waving palm branches and singing loudly The King of Glory Comes! Maybe it's the years we acted it out with our children, when they took turns riding on their Daddy's back into Jerusalem while we all whooped and hollered. I don't know exactly why, but today is so joyous for me! I love to stomp and clap and welcome the King into my Jerusalem. I know that events deteriorate quickly. That soon enough my voice that today shouts "Hosanna!" will shout "Crucify Him!" But, not today. Today we catch a glimpse of the honor truly due Him and today we revel in the fact that He has come. 

~Luke 19: 37-42
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen.
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

I am not joyful every year. Some years my heart has felt like a stone within me, and those are the years I am grateful for these words:

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.

I looked up the phrase "cry out" in the blueletter bible, and it is most often used, not for joyful worship, but for expressing extreme distress. It made me think about the crowd. How many welcomed Him with joy, and how many cried out to Him in distress? I think the bottom line is that today we choose to invite Him into our own city, our own Jerusalem, our own Here, our own Now. And He comes. He comes and cries over us:

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.

I found the hymn on youtube and even though there is no video, I kind of love this version. It is 4th and 5th graders singing like they mean it. Rejoicing!