Tag Archives: Palm Sunday

Changed

12 Apr

Let Holy Week commence! Extra rehearsals, last-minute duties, extra services, and special programs…. all to celebrate the greatest moment in history!

Tomorrow – Palm Sunday –  we remember Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem.

My writing time was swallowed up by the busy-ness of the past week. So, here is a well-received post from a couple of years ago: the first Palm Sunday with a nod to football.

May we all be changed for having been with Jesus!

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Cloakless

31 Mar
When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
   “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
  “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
   “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”  
                                                                                     —Mark 11:7-10
 

Indianapolis is in crisis.  The Colts played the 2011-12 season without Peyton Manning.  The Super Bowl was here, but the Colts didn’t even make the play-offs.  And now Peyton Manning is leaving for Denver.  Colts fans are conflicted –  wear a #18 blue jersey, or take it off?

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem His cheering followers whipped their cloaks off, covering the road in front of the young colt upon which Jesus sat.  I have a mental picture of a cloak-wave forming in front of Jesus like football fans at halftime in a stadium.  The “Hosanna’s!” were deafening, drawing more people to the procession who added their cloaks to the patchwork road-quilt.

Jerusalem celebrated as it never had before.  This was their King, not a Roman imposter.  This rabbi who taught with authority was a Jew, a Son of David, and they hoped, the one who would free them from centuries of oppression.  So, one after another, they stripped off one of their most precious possessions and laid it in front of Him.  Reserved for royalty, this simple gesture was anything but frivolous.

  • A cloak was a costly investment due to the time-intensive construction process: cultivating and gathering the raw material (flax for linen, or a sheep’s fleece for wool), cleaning it, spinning the thread, weaving the cloth, and finally, sewing the garment.
  • A cloak was personal.  An individual would be recognized from afar by his cloak, which was custom-made to fit his stature and shape.  Sometimes a cloak identified to which tribe a Jewish man belonged.
  • Today, tribes in the Middle East still put robes on when the merciless sun cooks everything exposed to its relentless rays.  To a Jew, his cloak was both sunscreen and personal air conditioner, necessary protection from the harsh sun and brutal sand storms.
  • Not everyone could afford to own a cloak.  Simply wearing one bestowed a certain amount of status; and the nicer the cloak, the higher standing in the community.

Taking a cloak off stripped a person of all the above.  That day status, comfort, individuality, and a prized possession were not only laid in the dust before Jesus, they were also trodden under the hooves of a donkey.  His cloak-less followers all looked much the same in their simple tunics – vulnerable and without distinction… and out-of-their-mind crazy for their King!

The press of the crowd wanting to be near Jesus must have been so great, that there was no retrieving a cloak right away.  Slowly, the parade passed by and the dust settled, revealing cloaks caked with the dust of hundreds of exuberant feet that had danced over them.  Many of the cloaks were probably torn and ruined, totally unwearable.  Anything left behind by the donkey was ground in by dirty sandals.  Those able to get their own cloaks back, wore a reminder home of what had happened that night.

What had happened?  Were those who picked through ruined cloaks filled with joy from such a personal sacrifice for their King?  Or did they stand there as the dust settled, confused and cloak-less, regretting their foolishness?  Had they been carried along by the frenzied crowd, fair-weather followers; or were they changed because they had been with Jesus?

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Heart-check for Sunday

Are status, comfort, individuality, and possessions more important than worshiping Jesus, or can I lay all of these at His feet with joy?  If I don’t lay these down, what kind of worship can I give Him?

Do I want to be changed in His presence?  Or will I shake myself off tomorrow and go home no different than when I came in?

My heart’s desire is to be changed– to take pretension and all I cling to off, to lay it down, never pick it up again…  and simply be His.

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