Monday, February 23, 2009

Humble in Triumph

"Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields." Mark 11:8

This past summer we attended a county fair and had a chance to look at all the blue ribbon winners, the superstars of the county fair, most of them penned up after the show was over.
And more recently I was watching the Westminster Dog show on television. I have been thinking about what it means to be a winner. Last night I did not watch the Academy Awards, but it also made me think about what it means to be a winner. The animals that win at the county fair will soon be slaughtered or used for breeding.The dogs that win Westminster are thoroughbreds, raised carefully and trained for that day. For all the beauty and characteristics of bred that they display, the dog themselves may be made a champion, but their importance afterward is in the offspring they produce. The Oscars, much talked about and much heralded, focus on the talent of the individuals, but the reward comes for the studio and producers in increased financial income. Triumphant moments can be a dangerous thing. Fame is short lived. Some folks judge their whole lives on one triumphal moment which they try desperately to replicate. And yet, our triumph is really in what we are able to give away to others.

Jesus entered Jerusalem in a triumphal moment. People ran in front and back of him, laying branches and cloaks on the ground. In that brief moment, folks understood the importance of Jesus, his great gift to the world. Some of these very same people would be those in the crowd shouting, "crucify him, crucify him." Crowds turn quickly and those who were once welcomed can become those who are turned away.

Today, I want to focus on living humbly in all circumstances. There will be moments of celebration and victory, but there will also be moments of great distress and challenge. I want to remember that God is in the midst of all of these, not just in the triumphal moments and that my most triumphal moments may be in what I leave behind for others, for what I am able to give away. I pray that we can all know God's living presence in failure and rejection, for the one who was with Jesus through the best and the worst, promises to be with us through all our times.

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