Joyfully Praise God
Kris Judd of Independence, MO, USA
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!” -Luke 19:28-38
Today we remember a famous and tumultuous parade held over 2000 years ago, celebrated on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The author of Luke describes for us the reaction of people who had witnessed acts of healing and compassion by Jesus as he entered town on the back of a donkey secured by his disciples. Crowds of people put down their cloaks on the road before him, indicating their submission to this teacher, preacher, and healer. Little did they know that by the end of the week they would submit to another power-the power that wanted to crucify Jesus.
They falsely assumed this donkey-riding liberator would bring them freedom from their Roman oppressors. Rather, his mission of liberation had far greater implications, not only for his fellow Jews, but also for the entire creation.
There is one in this story whose submission to Jesus intrigues me-the owner of the donkey. We are told the disciples merely told him that “the Lord has need of it” and without question he gave his unridden, and thereby pure, animal to them. Perhaps Jesus had prearranged this transaction, in which case the owner’s response makes sense.
Or, perhaps the man, who had likely heard of the wonders surrounding Jesus, responded out of a sense of faith and trust and hope. Regardless, he submitted without question to the need of the Lord.
During this Holy Week, may we reflect upon our response to the needs of the Lord. What does the Lord require of us? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with the One who came to liberate us and who rode peacefully on a donkey in a parade 2000 years ago.
The way of suffering love leads to resurrection.
As we journey through Holy Week, we move closer to the cross. Consider the symbol of the cross in your own discipleship and its invitation for you this week. Perhaps the cross is a symbol of dying to self, of releasing what is restricting new life in Christ. Or maybe the cross is a symbol of radical solidarity with all those who suffer. Notice if your feelings about the cross have changed as you have changed and grown in your spiritual journey. If this symbol feels disruptive or resistance arises, take those feelings gently into prayer and notice where the Spirit is drawing your attention. How are you invited this Holy Week to walk the way of suffering love that leads to resurrection?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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