After our Palm Sunday worship service yesterday, I found this on my door of my office at the church. My kids and I fell in love with a character in a video game called Unravel. The character is this little yarn figure named Yarny and the game is his adventures through the memories of an individual (just go with it – its a game after all). Anyway, my oldest made me this wonderful little Yarny of my own and he often finds some different adventures in my office. This week it was Yarny on my door celebrating Palm Sunday. So, I guess you could add to Jesus’ statement at the end of the entry…”if these were silent, even yarn figures would cry out!”
But it is a mixed feeling about Palm Sunday – while there is the joy and celebration that we read in the story and there are the places to have fun with it like my kids did, yesterday was also a heavy day – shortly before our worship service yesterday, I read about the two bombings in Egypt of the Coptic churches and at least 36 fellow Christians are dead. They were doing much the same as we were in worship – gathering, hearing the story of the entry, and worshipping. Yesterday was a day of mixed feelings – of celebration but also of mourning.
As the passage in Luke continues beyond the story of the entry there are two stories – Jesus weeping over Jerusalem – “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace!” – and the story of Jesus cleaning out the temple of the moneychangers. Those stories speak to me of the other call we have as followers of Jesus – its not just about the shouting and the singing and the waving of the Palm branches. Its about the actions that we take from there. Its about how we live out the call of Jesus.
In my prayer time yesterday, I read the following…
Eighth-century martyr Andrew of Crete wrote, “Let us say to Christ: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel. Let us wave before him like palm branches the words inscribed above him on the cross. Let us show him honor, not with olive branches, but with the splendor of merciful deeds to one another. Let us spread the thoughts and desires of our hearts under his feet like garments, so that he may draw the whole of our being into himself and place the whole of his in us.” (Claiborne, Shane; Claiborne, Shane; Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan; Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan; Okoro, Enuma; Okoro, Enuma (2010-11-23). Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 208). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)
Let us show the deeds of Jesus’ work in our live not just by the branches but by our actions and our lives. I also noted in the picture here after I took it that the PEACE sign was shown below – that should undergird all of our actions, our celebrations, our shoutings, our Palm Sunday celebrations…
After Jesus had said this, he continued on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. Now when he approached Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, telling them, “Go to the village ahead of you. When you enter it, you will find a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ʻWhy are you untying it?ʼ just say, ʻThe Lord needs it.ʼ” So those who were sent ahead found it exactly as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt, and had Jesus get on it. As he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!”
Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. They will demolish you – you and your children within your walls – and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”
Then Jesus entered the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling things there, saying to them, “It is written, ʻMy house will be a house of prayer,ʼ but you have turned it into a den of robbers!”
Jesus was teaching daily in the temple courts. The chief priests and the experts in the law and the prominent leaders among the people were seeking to assassinate him, but they could not find a way to do it, for all the people hung on his words.