Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spreading Palms

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Matthew 21:1-11

I remember gathering wild flowers and dandelions during the summer. Proudly I would present them to my mother and she would acted thrilled and excited by the gift, searching out the perfect vase and filling it with water, tenderly placing the flowers in the water. My daughters did they same thing and I loved receiving their wonderful gifts and tributes. Looking back, I remember it always made me sad as a child that the flowers I gave always seemed to die very quickly. Most wild flowers perish quickly when uprooted, and tender tributes fade rapidly even when put in water.

The people of Jerusalem greeted Jesus with royal favor, spreading palms and singing his praises. The delight and exuberance faded quickly and some in this royal greeting crowd would cry out for his execution. The tide of public opinion can change rapidly, and love and quickly wilt and die. The lesson in our Gospel today reminds me that we are fragile and variable people, sometimes swept up by expectations and honor, often to be discarded and ignored by the same crowd. God invites us to hold fast to the permanent, the grounded loved of God which is constant, unchangeable and unwavering. Unlike public opinion and wildflowers, God love will not fade away.

Today, as the heat continues and the anxiety and anticipation for General Convention grows, may we cling to the solid rock of God's love in our lives, not distracted by fads and favors, rather be constantly prayerful, and full of humility in every moment. In these lean times, God promises to make new life, and we are to stand fast and be faithful despite the outward climates, the winds of change, and the flashy prophets of doom. We are held fast by God's love and live with the promise of new life, breaking forth in the wilderness, love making all things new today and every day.

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