Palm / Passion Sunday
April 10, 2022
The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor
Rush United Methodist Church
After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.” Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.” Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.
| Centering Prayer |
Early in the war
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Would make video calls
To world leaders, congressmen, members of parliament, and the press
Appealing for aid and assistance against the Russian war machine.
He appeared unshaven,
In green tee shirts
(I purchased two, in his honor),
In dark, undisclosed locations.
With the threat of Russian armor, artillery, and air power so close at hand
He considered himself target number one
And his family target number two.
“This may be the last time you speak to me,” he was quoted as saying.
Zelensky was a wanted man with a price on his head.
Yet, he is surviving.
It feels like the tide is turning.
He has returned to his Presidential Office.
The actor / comedian now President of Ukraine
Has warmed the heart of the West.
Russians are leaving Kyiv,
Leaving behind tortured murder victims and mass graves.
May justice prevail.
May innocent victims
Rest in peace.
Today, Jesus is a wanted man with a price on his head.
Raising Lazarus from the dead
was the final straw for the Jewish leaders.
They intended to kill Lazarus (a second time)
And they intended to arrest and kill Jesus, too.
30 pieces of silver was the going rate.
Wanted: Dead or alive.
Jesus was target number one.
Lazarus was target number two.
His royal entry,
A parade through a crowd,
Was his protection.
Assassins prefer to act in secret.
The murderous intent of the Jewish leaders
Was driven by fear.
They had power and they weren’t giving it up.
They had Caesar whose sword and legions propped up the Temple,
So long as the trains ran on time.
They had wealth and the ability to print money;
Employing oppressive taxes, tithes, and fees.
When money flowed like water
From the poor
To the Temple
Everybody was fat, dumb, and happy.
Disrupt the flow of money and power of this worldly empire
And there would be hell to pay.
The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem
Was the opening clash of two kingdoms:
The power and wealth of Rome and corrupt organized religion
The abundant grace and love of the kingdom of God.
There would be victims of this cosmic clash.
Jesus could see Jerusalem being crushed, burned, and defeated
In a mere 40 years.
Killing fields are killing fields,
Weather it is Jerusalem or Bucha or Mariupol.
It made him weep.
Tears of the King flow
When the world does not recognize the things that make for peace.
The King weeps
When the world chooses power, oppression, fear, and violence
Over the way of Christ and the will of God.
Jesus was and is the visitation of God,
Who threatens earthly kingdoms, powers, and principalities.
Jesus was and is the King of kings
Who the people blessed with the royal treatment along the way.
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38)
Jesus was and is the King of kings
Whose righteous rage was willing to flip some tables
Disrupt like a pandemic
The acceptable ways and habits
Of the unexamined life.
Because we’ve always done it that way before.
Why not something new?
Because this is the way we do things around here.
But God can make all things new.
Shut-up and get in line.
The temptation is very powerful
To maintain the status quo
To resist change,
To insist that we are better off
Placing our bets on earthly kingdoms
Then placing our trust in God’s kingdom,
Where Jesus rules as King.
The world pushes back the progress of God’s kingdom.
“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,
‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’
He answered, ‘I tell you,
If these were silent,
The stones would shout out.’” – Luke 19:39-40
It is impossible for creation to remain silent!
If your Christian faith and discipleship is getting pushback and facing resistance,
You might be doing it right.
your blessing to our Heavenly King!
Practice the values of his kingdom.
that the world may live in peace.
Do not be afraid to
Overturn a few tables,
Just as Jesus did.
Disrupt corruption, power, and greed.
In its place
Create an environment of grace and love.
Create opportunities to partner with Jesus
To bring redemption and salvation to the world.
Let us be committed to being co-creators with our God,
To follow Christ, our King of kings,
And to replace corrupt, evil-infused kingdoms of this world
With God’s eternal kingdom of peace and love.
Blessed is our King!