My reminder from Palm Sunday...
Palm Sunday has always been especially difficult for me. It dramatizes the fickle nature of public acclamation, which may be a metaphor for working in public life. Public servants often derive wide acclaim in good times, but their highly visible fortunes can rapidly reverse, often through no fault of their own.
The first Palm Sunday was marked by Jesus Christ entering the ancient walled city of Jerusalem surrounded by adoring crowds proclaiming his omnipotence as a teacher, prophet, healer, and indeed, King of the Jews. Jesus did not dispute such superlatives, and that was considered blasphemous by the governing Pharisees of the day, so Jesus was promptly criminally charged. Since this was a capital offense, it demanded prompt justice.
Jesus' trial judge was the ambitious Roman jurist, Pontious Pilate. He already considered his career in great jeopardy because he had been banished from Rome, the seat of power for the era, to the obscure east coast of the Mediterranean...yet Pilate was hereby destined to preside over perhaps the most significant trial of the Millenia, and he proved he was clearly not worthy of the task. So, he publicly ascquiesced to the clamor of the crowd, and thereby washed his hands (literally) of doing his duty as a criminal court judge.
So...Jesus' tumultuous public welcome to Jerusalem was a prelude to his conviction and execution in Pilate's courtroom within 5 days of arriving in town. The traditional hymn of today for Palm Sunday speaks....Ride on! ride on in majesty!
The angel armies of the sky
Look down with sad and wondering eyes
To see the approaching sacrifice.
Ride on! ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
Bow thy meek head to mortal pain,
Then take, O God, thy power, and reign.
Thinking in such terms of finality add gravity to each Palm Sunday for me, since I commonly equate such mortal sacrifice to our young men and women in the U.S. Military serving in Harm's Way.
They are often on duty in some dangerous corner of the world because our Government has ordered them there. Yes, they are volunteers to serve in the military from the outset, but very few would volunteer to venture into the jaws of certain death given that specific choice. Yet Jesus did,...and achieved martyrdom.
Now that I have you in such a serious mood, I would like to share a thoughtful essay (below), which I believe is worthy of your serious contemplation (remember, Jesus was a Jew):++++++++++++++++++++++++++
THIS WAS WRITTEN ABOUT SPAIN AND EUROPE....
"ALL EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ" By Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez(*)
*This is a translation of an article from a Spanish newspaper
I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth - Europe died in Auschwitz.
We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, and talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world. The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: Science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.
And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.
They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime.
Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.
And thus, in our misery we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.
We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.
What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.
As we proceed into the holiest week of the Christian Year, I pray we will not need to be sacrificed (as Jesus was)in order to experience our resurrection of mind and body in the highly confused and sinful world of today.
/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.