Palm Sunday/Holy Week and a Coronation Turned Upside-down
Yesterday we celebrated Palm Sunday. We joined in the triumphant entry into Jerusalem to welcome Jesus as King: ““Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” (Luke 19:38)
The “multitude of disciples” welcomed Jesus with words very close the same greeting Angels gave him at his birthday in Luke’s Gospel. These are the words, clearly, we use to recognize the Messiah, the Lord’s anointed, our Savior. And yet a brief moment later Jesus, as if muttering to himself because he knows that no-one is willing to listen, says, ““If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! (Luke 19:42)
The city, the crowds, the disciples even, want a king in power and might to deliver Israel… and yet Jesus knows this is no way to peace. Instead Jesus will wash feet, eat with the powerless, confront authority, and turn all our notions of king upside down when he dies on the cross. More than that even, Jesus will turn upside all our predetermined ideas of what it means to be God. Our notion of God will die (must die)… so that who God needs to be for the world to have peace might rise and live. This is what kingship means in Jesus’ way… this is how peace is arrived at – not competing for power, honor, and success. But for putting love of other before all else.
And if this is what it means to be king? What does it mean to follow in that king’s way? When it comes to live the life of love and service – to live the way of the cross, will we abandon our king and leave the stones to do the shouting?