Palms, Praise and Passion

We have all believed in someone or some group so much that we were certain that they could help to open the doors that had been shut and bring the change that we wished could happen for the good. But sometimes, it does not happen quite the way that we had imagined it would, or not at all.

We have been left disappointed, frustrated, and even angry at the people we once lifted up as little messiahs, in hopes that they could do what few have ever done before including get our neighborhoods, schools, villages or cities, state, or the country and the economy to the place where they can once again reach the heights that we have been hoping to achieve and are proud to be part of. In addition, take full advantage of the hoped-for opportunities to ease the difficulties that have risen up recently, and lift us up and away from the downturns, burdens, and ills that seem to pull us down and seemingly make our future looks less bright.

Several of our past and present leaders, of all types have suffered under the disappointment and even anger of many of the same people who once supported them because they had high hopes that came crashing down in a heap with allegations and evidence that took away their little messiahs or rendered them powerless to carry out their grand mission to save the day and make everything better for everyone who believed in them. Similarly, our faith journey can have expectations for change that are not realized as we hoped they would be.

In our Bible reading from Mark 11:1-11, Jesus, and those with him, were approaching Jerusalem, passing through the cities of Bethphage and Bethany.

Jesus suddenly asks two of his disciples to go into the village ahead of them and follow his instructions that are to prepare for his entry into Jerusalem. The symbolism of the task that Jesus' disciples carried out for him was central to his mission and the actions of the people who lined the road that Jesus traveled were intentional and demonstrated their expectations of him. The task that the disciples were given pointed directly to the manner and mission that Jesus came to accomplish as the true Messiah, versus who the people believed Jesus represented to them.

When Jesus finally entered Jerusalem in the custom he planned for, he was greeted with shouts of joy from the people who supported what they believed him to be proclaiming, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee." However, those words were spoken in a much different context and role than Jesus came to serve.

After that joyous occasion, Jesus quickly left Jerusalem but came back. When he did, his actions were indicative of what the people should expect from him as Messiah. Those actions made the Palm Sunday procession seem anticlimactic. Please carefully read the entire chapter of Mark 11:1-33 and look for the symbolism in the tasks that the disciples carried out as well as in the response from the people who greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. Then read about what Jesus did after he returned to Jerusalem when the Palm Sunday procession was over. 

My question is, what do you do when your, prayers, dreams, and expectations to remedy a dire situation in your life are meant with a different reality and remedy that God provides for you?

Copyright © 2018 First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove. Please report any problems to webmaster@dgfumc.org.