In recent years I have often wondered where Palm Sunday went. Growing up, the congregation would meet in the community hall next to the church building and our service would start there with music and palms and palm crosses we would follow the cross out on to the side walk and over to the church and then inside where we would consider the man would be King for a day: Jesus. There wasn’t any consideration of the Cross until Good Friday. Palm Sunday was all about the parade and the King for a day. It was about being glad to see the glory and majesty of the one called the King, even if it was only for a moment.
I don’t know of too many who don’t get excited about parades. Everybody likes a good parade it would seem. Luke’s gospel devotes 10 chapters to one the longest parades I know of – the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. And it is only when they get really close to the city – passing the garden where the time of prayer and the arrest take place that people get swept up in the emotion and really celebrate what they think is going to be their salvation. We think we see and know but we have not yet understood that God is doing a new thing, then and now. We haven’t seen anything yet! Nevertheless, it is through the seemingly small and insignificant events of our time and history that God is working to bring about the new creation and the establishment of his kingdom. Our inability to see God at work does not mean that God’s isn’t at work or that he is defeated by our lack of foresight (and perhaps insight). There will be a parade, a procession of a small, unremarkable seed, brought to a hill to die and then to be planted in a hole in the earth so that it might grow again – and this time, imperishable.
And what kind of kingdom will it be anyway? It will be a kingdom where there is compassion and companionship; a kingdom where those who serve will rule and have power; a kingdom where healing and redemption are offered. Most importantly, it will be a kingdom that comes in God’s own way and God’s own time. It will not be rushed. So we, as servants of the King, need to work at recognizing the ways in which God is working in the world to bring about his new creation so that we can participate with him. God has marked his time with us in the person of his Son. Time is not a predator, ready to shred and devour us. Time is a companion that reminds us of the importance of seeking God out and serving him where we find him. So we ought not to fight to escape this world but rather work to draw others into the new creation where God’s will is done on earth and in heaven.
There was a time when all this was kept a secret and the King told his friends not to tell others who he was. That was then and this is now. Now is the time and today is the day to proclaim Jesus is King. And if we will not then all of creation, even the very rocks that are under our feet will call out and proclaim God’s glory. Or as I like to think of it, I have a friend who has a large stone by the front doorway of his house and on the rock is painted this inscription, “If you won’t, I will”. Take a moment this week and thank God for all he has done and whistle a little tune of praise so that you can join in the song of creation. If birds can sing and brooks can babble can’t you offer God a moment of praise?