I have spent a lot of time thinking about parades this week. First, I am preparing to preach to that wonderful little congregation in Orkney for Palm/Passion Sunday. The nature of the parade of palms is much on my mind.
But first the bit of “fun”. For St. Patrick’s Day the Alzheimer group celebrated all things Irish and the person who provide a slide show of his trip to Ireland told us about the world’s smallest and shortest parade, which apparently begins at the town hall, and it’s one float goes across the street to the pub. A parade with a purpose.
As funny as this parade story is, it does it does have a stated purpose. There is an agenda. Lets celebrate St. Paddy’s as fast as we can and then get onto the “real” point of the day, green beer in the pub.
A parade with an agenda.
But there was an agenda in the Palm Parade too. I know that we often think of it as a spontaneous parade, as the crowd reacts to the popularity of Jesus, and I am sure that there was some of that going on as well. But there were those who were praising him and calling upon him to save them who had an agenda, and those cries were centered on their expectations of a Messiah.
Hail to the King. Usually a king entered the city in a procession AFTER having had a rousing success on the battle field. But this King had not done that. Nevertheless, the expectations that he would be a Messiah that overthrew the political oppressors was high. It left me wondering if the cries changed from Hosanna to Crucify him because Jesus failed to meet the expectations of the crowd regarding what a King, and primarily a Messiah would do. Jesus didn’t gather an army, he didn’t defear the Romans and kick them out of Isreal, he didn’t restore the throne of Daivd. All he managed to do was cause a disturbance in the Temple and get arrested. What a dissapointment.
What was the purpose of the parade? Spontaneous joy in welcoming Jesus? Manipulation to persuade him to be the King they wanted?
The truth is, Jesus was no one’s idea of a King. In fact he was probably no one’s idea of a Savior. But both of those things are exactly what he is. A true King, fulfilling the call of his Father, and a true Savior, giving his life to redeem even those who tried to manipulate him and who eventually turned against him.
He was a King who ruled with love, rather than with intimidation and military power. He was and is quite frankly a King that I can get behind.
But if I am honest about all this pondering then I have to acknowledge that there are those times when I have expectations of Jesus that are unrealistic, and that can cause me to seek ways to make him do what I want. Sometimes accepting the will of God in my life isn’t something that I am willing to do. I want… and I want it now. I forget the better road of walking with faith and in the hope that God will give me what I need rather than what I want.
Hopefully this Holy Week I can choose a different parade, one not of my making, but of God’s grace. This is what I see, and what I hope will be fulfilled.
Today’s prayer: PARADES
Passion inspiring and peace making Savior
Announce your presence in my life
Ride on in majesty to be the King you are called to be
Address my desires for control and lead me into the path of your choosing
Deliver me from my own desires and bring me into your grace
Enter my heart with your passion and your peace
Shape me, bend me, make me mold me, and make me yours. Amen
all images courtesy of Pixaby.com