Donald R. Elly, M. Div.
Emmy Kegler, a Lutheran Pastor and the author of One Coin Found (2019) used one word to describe Holy Week (and its beginning with Palm Sunday). Disruption. “…Holy Week came as disruption. I relished the shouts of the crowd surrounding Jesus…The first Palm Sunday was less a ritual procession and more a protest march.
The people of God shouted, finally the Messiah has come! The violence of Rome would be overthrown, the throne of David taken back. Finally the people of God would be free again, no longer poor and starving in their homeland, under the burden of oppression.”1
Reflecting on Emmy’s description, I want to share with you some of the values Jesus reveals as he with the disciples enters Jerusalem. All four gospels record this scene. Each conveys a unique message by what they add or subtract. For example, Luke has no branch waving or palm trees. Jesus is King and enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey, a beast of burden or service, rather than a war horse. All of the symbols of power convey a quest for the peace given by God alone, that passes all under-standing, unlike the warrior that arrives in full military splendor to maintain a peace focused on the expansion to amass wealth for Emperor and Rome.
Jesus comes “in the name of the Lord”. God alone is the source of a life of peace providing hope for all. Jesus, as we affirm, pays the price of his life to achieve it. Death on the Cross is Jesus ultimate gift of love, of his commitment to give all to witness to God’s love. The instrument of hate, and torture is transformed.
Jesus enters Jerusalem to make some other values evident. Humility is the posture of Christians toward all other human beings because life is a gift and all lives are meant to be reflectors of peace and healing for all. Kathryn Huey put well what we are to recall and honor on this day misnamed “Palm Sunday”. I believe that the death of Jesus is about the ultimate gift of God’s love, the gift of a compassionate God who says no to death and raises Jesus up again on the third day and this God will raise us up too.2
1.Emmy Kegler. One Coin Found (2019), pgs.96-97
2. Kathryn Matthew Huey. Sermon Seeds, Cycle C2012) pgs.101-105
April 14, 2019; Cycle C; Palm/Passion Sunday
Isaiah50:4-9; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; *Luke 19:28-39,23:1-49