Thursday, April 2, 2009

Learning from Palm Sunday


This Sunday I will be speaking to the church in Golden, just west of Denver, whose pastor has been in a three year battle with cancer and is very ill. He is a valiant warrior and I hope that you will pray for him. His name is Crest.

So what do I say given this real situation and the texts of Palm Sunday? This morning here is what is emerging and I share it with you.

The text: Matthew 21:1-9

Parades are surrealistic moments when large crowds, bright colors, artistic inventiveness, and loud noises fill the air.
I love a parade.
We just need some times when we can holler, let out the tension, invest in hope and let our joy ride helium-born into the heavens.
It just does us good.
(Remember: becoming like children is a pretty important kingdom value to Jesus.)

On this day, Jesus found Himself in the center of a parade.
A "red carpet" of robes strewn before him.
"Special effects" palm-branches-waving.
Large crowds shouting hopeful extravagences - "hosanna, King, prophet...there he is!!
And the "shiney black limo"...covered in thick brown hair with occasional bleats as he walked beside his mother...a colt.
Excitement indeed...Oh wow...What's next? is not just one long happy parade.

It wasn't for Jesus either.

At the end of the parade loomed the shaddow of a cross.

Life, according to Jesus, is not picking it all up, but laying it all down.

Paul, the most prolific blogger of the first century, wrote: "I die daily." God forbid that I should revel in anything but the cross of Christ.

So that is the first point...parades are fun, but we are called live with unswerving purpose as did our Lord, and embrace the passion and cross that He allows in our lives.

Unless Jesus returns to this earth and makes "everything new" all of us have an appointment die. It is not the faithless that do is all who have been breathing that do.

The second thing I see is (here, for added insight, read John 12:16-19)
When God is God in our lives....death is never the end.
The parade takes Jesus to the cross.
The cross takes Jesus to death.
And the Father/God takes Jesus into the Resurrection...and a new forever form of existance.

Death dueling resurrection always looses.
It a pin in the first round...a TKO right after the fight has begun.

Jesus appeared after being pummeled to death, speared, nailed, pierced. beaten, spit on...(I cannot endure writing more)....and around 36 hours later he is so healthy and strong, angels attending him are dazzling, gleaming, radiant with the effect of his presence. Can you imagine being honor guard to the first one raised from the dead?!!

So Palm Sunday says to us...
1. It's not about the parade, but the passion.
2. It's not about death, but life.
3. It's not about "the end" but the beginning.

In a generation where so many were martyred, it is no surprise that what we are looking at today was commonly called "the blessed hope."

So...let's have a parade and shout and wave.
Let's stay the course no matter what "cross" is involved.
And let's keep the glow of "forever with Christ" in our hearts and on our faces.

On the journey with you...


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