Today I invite you to think about Jesus on that day long ago…
He must have known or suspected what was coming. He’d been hearing opposition from the very beginning. He knew about John’s run-in with Roman leaders. He himself had fielded all sorts of questions from leaders of the temple; from those who were afraid, who perhaps felt threatened, just trying to protect the people, paying the bills, putting food on their own tables. They worried, he knew. He timed his entry as a protest. Echoing the scriptures, his preparations were planned to help the people remember the words of the prophets. Remember that there was hope to stand against the mighty and the powerful who abused their power.
Think about the people on that day…
They must have known or suspected what was to come. They knew all too well the might of their Roman occupiers. They could hear the clatter of horses’ hooves and chariot wheels from across the city. They knew the oppressive taxes that funded Herod’s many castles. Lifestyles of the rich and famous did not just originate in our day. It’s been a theme running throughout history.
In spite of knowing, of harboring a fear of what might come, the people joined with Jesus and his disciples making noise, celebrating in the streets of Jerusalem, bringing joy tempered by fear, but choosing hope, however slim, that somehow their day was coming.
Looking back they may have wondered at their brash parade. Just how had they expected the ragtag crowd of followers that they were to succeed in the face of such a mighty obstacle? But in the years to come, the parade would take on new meaning. Their hopes of one who would be present in challenging times would be realized in countless ways great and small.
The anthropologist Margaret Mead said, Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Today, we face a mighty threat. It is made evident in the face of a global pandemic. But it has shown its face in opportunists who use the suffering of others to their advantage for fame or power or profit.
But there is another way…the voice of the people lifted up in celebrating the heroes among us; the health care workers and support teams, those who provide transportation of people to hospitals, of food to market, those who deliver mail and babies. In places around the world people under stay at home orders gather nightly on balconies to cheer their heroes, medical staff applaud as those who recover are sent home, restaurants whose business is floundering turn instead to sending food to those on the front lines in hospitals or deliver food and beverages to police and ambulance corps.
And in this community of faith, the work of caring for one another goes on. Your Leadership Circle and those who make telephone contact check-in weekly so we can continue to meet the needs of the people in this time and place.
What will people say of us in that far distant time when COVID 19 is but a memory? They will say that the people followed faithfully in the way of Jesus shouting out their hopes, and yes, their fears. They will say the people trusted in God knowing that in this community of faith, whatever comes, God will be present in the work in the hands and feet, hearts and faces of those who gather here in God’s name. May it ever be so.