Today is Palm Sunday. I don't know how you celebrate in your church, but we're going to have a whole herd of kids marauding down a couple of the aisles waving palm branches, and generally beating other congregants about the head as they sing their "Loud Hosannas!" It's going to be beautiful.
I have to share this really cool idea with you. It's something that we've been discussing in my Sunday morning study group. Here it is, grossly simplified from a very interesting book we've been looking a together, "The Last Week."
At the time of Jesus, the Roman authorities liked to make a big deal about spelling out exactly who was in charge. The governor would ride into town for important Jewish festivals, just to demonstrate who really held the power in Jerusalem. The main Roman garrison was located on the Mediterranean coast, to the west, and the governor would lead an ostentatious parade, entering from that side of the city along with an intimidating display of Roman soldiers.
Imagine the contrast... Pilate riding in on a warhorse or sitting in a chariot - from the west - and then Jesus entering from the east, sitting on a donkey, making a very strong statement of his own.
So here's my question for this weekend - as we live in this particular culture. The "occupying force" in our land is more subtle than the Pax Romana, yet just as dangerous; it is materialism... greed... self-interest... and the crushing debt that comes along with it. It is very easy to get caught up in values that have little to do with freedom, liberty, justice for all, or the pursuit of happiness.