This is the first Palm Sunday in my ministry that will include a
sermon. Every year I've planned some sort of dramatic reading,
sometimes interspersed with music, always taking us right to the cross.
For some reason that didn't seem like the right thing to do this year,
and now I must determine what to preach about and how to make it, well,
oddly palpable. I would hope we could end the day feeling we wish to
shout ourselves, yet feeling an awareness that people just like us
turned and shouted "Crucify him," too.
My favorite telling of the entry into Jerusalem is in Luke's gospel, the words that made it into "Jesus Christ Superstar" in this form:
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
Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar
I just don't find Matthew is giving me anything that captivating, nothing as oddly palpable as the notion that so much is going on even the stones would like to shout about it, nothing as human and anti-climactic as the end of the story in Mark, when Jesus and the disciples look around and then head back to Bethany.
What's on my mind is turning around the song we've been singing all through Lent, "I Want Jesus to Go With Me." Do we really want to go with Jesus? Do we understand where that path leads? I think I need to read a bit more about this portion of Matthew and continue seeking the "hook."
I know that for me, following Jesus right now means doing a kind of ministry that leaves me feeling a bit wistful, as I will move on while the church continues into the next phase of its life together with a new pastor soon to arrive. I'm happy for her, for all of them, but wishing I could have the chance to sink in deep myself. Yet to follow Jesus, to go down the road from which he beckons to me, I have to leave.
That said, I want to resist the urge to make this sermon in any overt way about me!
Because this is all about Jesus, about the irresistible urge to follow him, wherever the road may lead.