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Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Starting in seminary I started to experience Palm Sunday as a "calm before the storm" in Lent. After many chapters of conniving Pharisees, demonic forces and ignorant disciples, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, greeted with glorious fanfare. For this short time, at least, it seems that all is well. But it is precisely that calm that confuses me. How, in the span of one short week, does the crowd's shouting turn from "hosanna!" to "crucify!"?
Perhaps that tension is exactly the point. Once again we are given a jarring juxtaposition of humility and exaltation. Matthew quotes the prophet Zechariah, "Look, your king is coming to you, humble." And indeed Jesus enters Jerusalem in humility on a donkey. But the crowds exalt Jesus, willing this prophet to become a mighty king, a valiant warrior. They cannot understand that Jesus' exaltation can only result from his future humiliation. And so as Jesus fails to be the warrior-king the crowds expect, their exaltation dissolves into hate. Underneath the shouts of "hosanna!" lie the powerful shouts of "crucify him!" that bring Jesus to his ultimate humiliation. But through that humiliation Jesus also receives the true exaltation, that is, resurrection.
Lord, as we prepare to enter Holy Week, let us be like your Christ, seeking not empty exaltation, but holy humility. Amen.
May the palms of this Sunday be for you a holy reminder of what is to come...just one week later!
See ya Sunday!
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