March 20, 2016: Who Do You Follow: the Crowd or Christ?

Posted on : Mar 17th, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Lillian Daniel, one of our UCC pastors and God is Still Speaking writers tells a funny yet profound story about Palm Sunday:

One Palm Sunday early in my ministry, the children were all at the front of the church for a children’s sermon being given by my colleague. His words were thoughtful and well-planned. There was only one, small problem. The children had all been given their palms before coming forward. So no matter what the minister talked about, they had something much more interesting in their hands: a sword.

First one little boy thrust his palm frond into the head of another, who cried out with a loud, “Ouch, what was that?” Then he decided to try out his palm frond on the girl next to him. She shrieked, at first in shock and then in delight. Why didn’t they get these neat swords every Sunday?

Soon, every kid seemed to be either dodging or stabbing a palm into another kid’s eye, all while the pastor spoke to them about Christ’s never-ending love and kindness.

It was a microcosm of the real Palm Sunday story. A leader enters in triumph but the people are fickle. They turn on him, and then upon one another. One minute Jesus is the object of their cries of admiration, the next they are crying “Crucify him.”

Children poking each other with palms in church are kind of funny. Especially when you’re not the pastor giving the children’s sermon that day.

But grown-ups who turn on each other without a second thought are scary. Beware of the crowds that get whipped up in praise and adoration, for they could just as quickly get whipped up in hatred and cruelty. That’s what happened on Palm Sunday to Jesus, and it could happen anywhere on earth today.

Those last two sentences struck me as ever so relevant in our current political situation in America. Beware of the crowds that get whipped up in praise and adoration, for they could just as quickly get whipped up in hatred and cruelty. That’s what happened on Palm Sunday to Jesus, and it could happen anywhere on earth today.

As we once again hear the gospel story filled with the political deception that leads to the arrest and cries for the crucifixion of Jesus, we have to ask ourselves, “Today, who do I follow: the crowd or Christ?”

Blessings to you as we begin our spiritual journey from Jerusalem to the cross. May we be strengthened by the love of Christ, and through knowing him, be “Changed For Good.”

Blessings,

Dan

 

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Luke 19: 28-40

Luke recounts Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Hosanna! Hosanna!

Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of our God.

Hosanna in the highest!

Jesus went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Beth’phage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat; untie it and bring it here.   If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this, ‘The Savior has need of it.’” So those who were sent went away and found it as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Savior has need of it.”  

And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their garments on the colt, they set Jesus upon it. And as he rode along, they spread their garments on the road.

As he was drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, 

Hosanna! Hosanna!

Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of our God.

Hosanna in the highest!

And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

 

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