Palm Sunday

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.”
He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

Luke 19:39-40

I’m not preaching this Sunday (we’re having a Palm and Passion Sunday drama), but just wanted to respond to the verse in this week’s lectionary which is shouting out to me. “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

You can find it phrased this way in Jesus Christ Superstar

Why waste your breath moaning at the crowd?
Nothing can be done to stop the shouting
If ev’ry tongue was still the noise would still continue
The rocks and stones themselves would start to sing!

I was never particularly familiar with JCS. I was the right age to hear lots of high school talent show contestants sing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” (right up there with “What I Did for Love,” from A Chorus Line). I never listened to the whole soundtrack, never saw the movie; there was a Southern Baptist grandmother in the picture who found JCS and Godspell deeply objectionable. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I saw the film of JCS, when I watched it with my 5th and 6th grade Sunday School class. I was looking with a theological eye, ready to answer questions that came up. I really had no idea what the take on the Jesus story would be. I was intrigued by the idea that Judas felt Jesus was going to ruin their work by believing in himself as God. I knew something about the portrayal of Mary Magdalene. But it was the triumphal entry that threw me for a loop. The priests on the scaffolding, the dusty surroundings, the happy hippie crowd: and then those words…

No keeping it quiet. No silencing him. No way to stop it all.

That’s what struck me–the stones.