21 March 2024

Palm Sunday (USA, 2024)

Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem (1320) by Pietro Lorenzetti; source.

The arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, just days before his arrest and execution, is sometimes called the "Triumphal Entry." It wasn't triumphal to everyone, of course; there was already plenty of controversy about Jesus and his activities. Still,  his own disciples celebrated enthusiastically: (from Mark 11, verses 9 and 10, New International Version)

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

     “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
     “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
     “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

I love the matter-of-fact next verse in Mark: "Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve." Nevertheless, the shouts of those who greeted Jesus as he entered indicated high expectations of his arrival in this politically sensitive place. He might be the one to restore David's throne!

It soon became apparent that Jesus was completely redefining what his "kingdom" was all about, and throwing its gates open to everyone who was ready to receive him, including all who might have been left out of earlier invitations, right up to you and me today.

Those original celebrants, yearning for a political triumph, may have misunderstood what was about to happen, but it's hard to blame them. Today, we see a similar confusion: many of those we would expect to help Jesus keep those gates wide open to all who would receive him, are having a hard time. Many of them seem determined to repel anyone who is not planning to vote for their hero in November.

Just to set the record straight: Jesus, who was executed for redefining his kingdom and its radical invitation, is very much alive. Come and see for yourself.

Last week I had barely enough active neurons to write a few sentences on my blog. It turns out that I needed abdominal surgery, which happened yesterday, with good results. By next week I hope to be back to my full blog format. For today, I'll close with a slightly different form of blues dessert, from the film Horowitz in Moscow.


Kristin Lord said...

Best wishes for a continued and full recovery!

Johan Maurer said...

Thank you very much, Kristin.