Over 2012 years ago you rode into the city that would be the death of you, Jesus. You rode on a donkey, and people flocked to see you, laying down palm leaves and their clothes on the road before you. They called out to you with shouts of excitement for who they, in their somewhat narrow minds, thought you were — deliverer from the oppression of the Roman rule, catalyst for a new power, a new age, a warrior prophet – one whose words promised a better way.
“Hosannah in the highest,” they cried out in a euphoria that passed in waves throughout the crowd. Did they wonder why their future King rode on a donkey? Did they question your lack of weapons or armour? Did they wonder what action you would take in the capital, who you would see, what you would say? Or were they merely curious about this one who raised the dead?
And your closest followers – what were they thinking? You had given them fair warning on several occasions but did they really fully understand that your journey to Jerusalem would be a one way trip? As the crowds screamed, did the disciples glance at one another in disbelief? Or did they get caught up in the party atmosphere and miss the look of intent on your holy face?
What gripped Peter’s heart that day? A warriors heart, was he preparing for a fight? And Judas, where was his heart as he walked beside his comrades? Was Satan working evil in his heart even then? Did he feel discomfort, embarrassment at the spectacle his teacher was creating? Did he lag just slightly behind the rest, distancing himself from direct eye contact with you?
Who was in that cheering crowd? How many of those whom you had touched with your healing hands, had received your words of life-change were there watching, celebrating, feeling a renewed overwhelming thankfulness mixed with disbelief at what you had done for them?
Did the man with the once withered hand lay his coat on the road in front of you? Did the bleeding woman, fully healed, weep for joy? Did the demon-possessed, now spirit filled one, sing songs of freedom that day?
And then, you passed by, and they watched your figure grow smaller in the distance, the sounds of rejoicing fading with you. What happened to them then? As they returned to their homes, their vocations, their families, what occurred in the hearts of so many who, only a few days later, would be part of another crowd of screaming people yelling out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”?
And I see in that fickle crowd a snapshot of myself. My heart full of adoration one day then lukewarm the next. My intentions for service, love, relationship grand and strong, and then slowly becoming complacent. Allowing circumstances to dictate my feelings and overrule my heart for you. And I , like Judas perhaps, avert my eyes in embarrassment and shame for who I am, for my lack, for my defeat and I drift even further from you as I look inward rather than into your eyes.
I see me in that crowd – euphoric in worship and lofty intentions on Sunday, then discouraged in my real-life by Tuesday. How many of us experience our faith like that? Striving, trying, desiring, hoping, but with no staying power?
Fall on God’s grace, some say! Let go and let God! Surrender! Yield! And my heart cries, “Yes”, while my head asks, “How often”? How often must I revisit this place of surrender, of repentance, of crying out to God to rescue me from myself?
Still, in spite of all my limitations I choose to stay close to you, to do my best, to listen for your voice and obey, love my husband and my children, learn to love my enemies, and serve you with the gifts you have given me.
And when I fall and grow tired, when I am complacent and ashamed, I will come to you again and again and again – hungry for a fresh look into your understanding eyes – and your grace in my life.
I will, in all my humanity, call out, “Hosannah to my King!!!”