April 17, 2019
Scripture Luke 19:28-40
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….
Luke 19:36-37 NRSV
Most of you will know the answer to the question that forms the title of this devotion just by reading the scripture selection. Most of us who grew up within the structure of the church will think of the pageantry that the church has created around Palm Sunday, the last Sunday in Lent and immediately preceding Easter Sunday. However, an increasing number of people come to their faith in God from another path that is entirely removed from structured church traditions in which the stories of the church are told and retold. For these persons, the path to understanding God and their personal salvation centers on their relationship with God and how God relates to them through the Risen Christ. Their emphasis and experiences relate primarily to the cross and the death of Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
So, a story of celebration of a human, and yet divine, Jesus likely requires some explaining for persons who experience God without church or other faith-based gathering. They might ask: “Who is this person on a colt and riding into a crowd?” (Luke 19:35) Those familiar with the events, often described as Holy Week, recognize that the celebration theme loses its meaning without the resurrection and the ascension of Christ who reigns with God. The Risen Christ and the Holy Spirit allow us to have a conversation and a vibrant faith that move beyond the story of Palm Sunday to the frank discussion about salvation and renewal and rebirth. Hopefully, no matter the means or method that brought us to faith, we can live each day renewed through God’s redeeming love.
With Palm Sunday now in the past, the parade stops and the life of the church continues. May we all seek the love of God which was shown to us in Jesus Christ.