Reflection for Palm Sunday
By Rev. Sarah Robinson
Lectionary reading for 4/10/2022 Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Luke 19:28-40
Selected passage for reflection: Luke 10:28-40
Luke 19:28-40 NIV
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
There he was. The crowd’s great hope for a better day! Jesus, finally acting how they imagined the Messiah would- symbolically riding victoriously into Jerusalem (the seat of power in Israel) like a king would. Their king: a man of the people with real power (just think of the miracles he had performed!) who could finally bring true justice and peace.
He had everything!
Only to have their hopes crushed just days later, as “the system” and “powers that be” dealt a seemingly finishing blow to their movement by unjustly crucifying him. I cannot imagine the devastation they must have felt. The desolation and loss. Actually, maybe I can, at least a little bit. I feel like recent history has played out in dramatic swings between hope and despair. Even as I write this I am experiencing a bout of despair as I am watching news clips roll in about the invasion of Ukraine.
I shout “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (vs. 38) but often the very next thing out of my mouth is “how long oh Lord?” from Habakkuk 1:2-4 (NIV):
2 How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
I cry out to God in both despair and hope, because if I do not the rocks themselves would cry out. It is moments like this we must dig deep into scripture, must lean into the Holy Spirit, must remind ourselves that in the end God’s justice can and will win the day. Nature itself declares it so!
And so this Palm Sunday I know I must cry out. Both in hope and despair, joy and sorrow. While I sit in the sorrows and pains of this moment, I must grasp tightly to the bits and pieces of light, of the Kingdom that I see rising up all around me wherever people choose peace, hope and love over power, control and violence.
Ultimately our King has come! Not just the King of Israel, but Christ the King of the Universe! His justice and peace will come. So this day I rest on God’s answer to Habakkuk’s complaint:
“Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. (Habakkuk 1:5 NIV)
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Check in with yourself. At this moment, how are you feeling? How are you holding your emotions in you body and mind? Try to name them if you can. Even if you can’t it’s OK. Whatever you are feeling, for a few minutes just cry out to God- in joy, in thanks, in hope, in grief, in despair. After you finish declare out loud: JESUS IS KING.
On my worst days and my best God, remind me that indeed Jesus is King. Your promises do not go unfulfilled, and we can indeed put our hope and trust in you. As we enter this Holy Week, may we once again be stirred out of our complacency and paralysis into new life in your Kingdom. AMEN.
About the Author
Pastor Sarah Robinson loves living & serving in the eclectic eco-district Audubon Park in urban Orlando, FL, where she bikes all over and works in her edible/pollinator garden covering her entire front yard! She considers it a privilege and a calling to work for rights and justice for the most vulnerable. You can follow her on Instagram @pastorfarmersarah