Cheer.

Mark 11:1-11

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5 some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

“Hosanna!

    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

10 

    Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Sermon:

Palm Sunday 2021!  Here we are, it seems like a familiar Palm Sunday, yet not quite the same as in years past.  We have expectations for this day, just like we have expectations for so much in life…yet, things change, expectations change, and sometimes we are disappointed, or confused.  

We want to be able to cheer for something!  

Mark 11:1-11

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5 some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

“Hosanna!

    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

10 

    Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Palm Sunday 2021!  Here we are, it seems like a familiar Palm Sunday, yet not quite the same as in years past.  We have expectations for this day, just like we have expectations for so much in life…yet, things change, expectations change, and sometimes we are disappointed, or confused.  

We want to be able to cheer for something!  

PP

When I was in high school, we had a football team that was not so good.  Actually, we had not had a winning season in years.  Yet, one year, my junior year, we were pretty good.  We went into the last game of the season 5-4, we were assured a slot in the playoffs, yet, we really wanted a winning season.  

Now, I didn’t play football.  I was in the band.  The “Marching Chargers”.  Our mascot was a charging knight and the British flag was always waved at football, soccer, basketball games, and band competitions.  I played bagpipes in said band.  Which, made my grandfather very happy as he was into our British and especially Scottish/Celtic ancestry.  There’s also a funny story of me walking around the football track during a break at a game with my girlfriend at the time, Alyssa Lepping, who was a cheerleader at the time at our biggest rival who we were playing at the time…her in her cheerleading skirt, and me an my kilt on windy evening.  But, another story for another day.  

Back to the story of my junior year…on the last day of the season, so much expectation.   We cheered on our team with so much enthusiasm.  And, we were playing another rival that was having a very down year for them.  Our cheers lasted about 10 minutes into the game.  They crushed us.  The following week we played in the first round to the eventual state champs, Trinity HS.  Another losing season.  

PP

So much of that has gone on in 2021, this season of so much change…daily change.  We want things to be different, yet, we’ve been so disappointed.  

Yet, the story remains the same, the story of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem.  And in this story is so much of Jesus’ character.  He sends out disciples to find a colt to ride in on…assuring the owners that it would be returned.  This is important as Jerusalem was occupied territory.  Roman soldiers, by law, were allowed to take and keep whatever they wanted, without returning it.  Which, has always been the way of empire:  take for the good of the empire, but not for the common good.  Take over relational commitment.  

PP

It’s also interesting to note that in the other gospel readings of this story that the colt is actually referred to as a donkey.  Either way, this has significance.  Jesus is coming into Jerusalem, before the Passover, not on a warhorse, coming in with pomp and circumstance, but in humility on a colt or on a donkey.  

This donkey was, as the great British 19th century poet and theologian, GK Chesterton says:

PP

The tattered outlaw of the earth,

   Of ancient crooked will;

Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,

   I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;

   One far fierce hour and sweet:

There was a shout about my ears,

   And palms before my feet.

The donkey met the moment.  We are called to meet this moment as well.  We are at the start of “holy week”.  A holy week in history like no other.  We have been on a Lenten journey together, as a community.  Filled with struggle, doubts, and change in a season where so much is happening.  In this consumer driven society, we have had to let go, slow down, lament, grieve, and let some things die.  Now, we come to a week where at the end we have three days:  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.  We remember communion, we are in this together.  We remember death, we all have to go through it, not just physically, but the death of all sorts of things in our lives.  And we remember that death is not the final answer, that there is resurrection, new beginnings out of the old.

PP

And, we walk this journey with the humility and trust that Jesus demonstrates on this colt or donkey.  As well as the resolve to love well.

Pilate, who would be Jesus’ judge by the end of the week, is also coming into Jerusalem at the same time at another gate.  Pilate’s residence was on the coast, he travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover festival as well.  However, when he came in, it was with a full military escort, pomp and circumstance, showing off the full power of Rome.  

Yet, here is Jesus, coming to Jerusalem, on the colt or donkey.  Not taking, riding in humility.  Assured of who he was, not knowing how the week would turn out, and not letting the expectations of the crowds get to him.  But, looking at them with compassion.  Taking it in, being present in the moment, listening the the cheers, but also looking deeper and trusting God.  Jesus takes it in, goes to the temple, and then retreats to Bethany with his disciples.

Friends, take in this week with humility, trust, and deep intent.  Intent to remember that we are in this together with one another and with Christ as Christ’s body.  Cheer today, mourn and lament this week for all that has gone, and celebrate next Easter that Christ has risen!  

Mark 11:1-11

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5 some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

“Hosanna!

    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

10 

    Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Sermon:

Palm Sunday 2021!  Here we are, it seems like a familiar Palm Sunday, yet not quite the same as in years past.  We have expectations for this day, just like we have expectations for so much in life…yet, things change, expectations change, and sometimes we are disappointed, or confused.  

We want to be able to cheer for something!  

PP

When I was in high school, we had a football team that was not so good.  Actually, we had not had a winning season in years.  Yet, one year, my junior year, we were pretty good.  We went into the last game of the season 5-4, we were assured a slot in the playoffs, yet, we really wanted a winning season.  

Now, I didn’t play football.  I was in the band.  The “Marching Chargers”.  Our mascot was a charging knight and the British flag was always waved at football, soccer, basketball games, and band competitions.  I played bagpipes in said band.  Which, made my grandfather very happy as he was into our British and especially Scottish/Celtic ancestry.  There’s also a funny story of me walking around the football track during a break at a game with my girlfriend at the time, Alyssa Lepping, who was a cheerleader at the time at our biggest rival who we were playing at the time…her in her cheerleading skirt, and me an my kilt on windy evening.  But, another story for another day.  

Back to the story of my junior year…on the last day of the season, so much expectation.   We cheered on our team with so much enthusiasm.  And, we were playing another rival that was having a very down year for them.  Our cheers lasted about 10 minutes into the game.  They crushed us.  The following week we played in the first round to the eventual state champs, Trinity HS.  Another losing season.  

PP

So much of that has gone on in 2021, this season of so much change…daily change.  We want things to be different, yet, we’ve been so disappointed.  

Yet, the story remains the same, the story of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem.  And in this story is so much of Jesus’ character.  He sends out disciples to find a colt to ride in on…assuring the owners that it would be returned.  This is important as Jerusalem was occupied territory.  Roman soldiers, by law, were allowed to take and keep whatever they wanted, without returning it.  Which, has always been the way of empire:  take for the good of the empire, but not for the common good.  Take over relational commitment.  

PP

It’s also interesting to note that in the other gospel readings of this story that the colt is actually referred to as a donkey.  Either way, this has significance.  Jesus is coming into Jerusalem, before the Passover, not on a warhorse, coming in with pomp and circumstance, but in humility on a colt or on a donkey.  

This donkey was, as the great British 19th century poet and theologian, GK Chesterton says:

PP

The tattered outlaw of the earth,

   Of ancient crooked will;

Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,

   I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;

   One far fierce hour and sweet:

There was a shout about my ears,

   And palms before my feet.

The donkey met the moment.  We are called to meet this moment as well.  We are at the start of “holy week”.  A holy week in history like no other.  We have been on a Lenten journey together, as a community.  Filled with struggle, doubts, and change in a season where so much is happening.  In this consumer driven society, we have had to let go, slow down, lament, grieve, and let some things die.  Now, we come to a week where at the end we have three days:  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.  We remember communion, we are in this together.  We remember death, we all have to go through it, not just physically, but the death of all sorts of things in our lives.  And we remember that death is not the final answer, that there is resurrection, new beginnings out of the old.

PP

And, we walk this journey with the humility and trust that Jesus demonstrates on this colt or donkey.  As well as the resolve to love well.

Pilate, who would be Jesus’ judge by the end of the week, is also coming into Jerusalem at the same time at another gate.  Pilate’s residence was on the coast, he travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover festival as well.  However, when he came in, it was with a full military escort, pomp and circumstance, showing off the full power of Rome.  

Yet, here is Jesus, coming to Jerusalem, on the colt or donkey.  Not taking, riding in humility.  Assured of who he was, not knowing how the week would turn out, and not letting the expectations of the crowds get to him.  But, looking at them with compassion.  Taking it in, being present in the moment, listening the the cheers, but also looking deeper and trusting God.  Jesus takes it in, goes to the temple, and then retreats to Bethany with his disciples.

Friends, take in this week with humility, trust, and deep intent.  Intent to remember that we are in this together with one another and with Christ as Christ’s body.  Cheer today, mourn and lament this week for all that has gone, and celebrate next Easter that Christ has risen!  

When I was in high school, we had a football team that was not so good.  Actually, we had not had a winning season in years.  Yet, one year, my junior year, we were pretty good.  We went into the last game of the season 5-4, we were assured a slot in the playoffs, yet, we really wanted a winning season.  

Now, I didn’t play football.  I was in the band.  The “Marching Chargers”.  Our mascot was a charging knight and the British flag was always waved at football, soccer, basketball games, and band competitions.  I played bagpipes in said band.  Which, made my grandfather very happy as he was into our British and especially Scottish/Celtic ancestry.  There’s also a funny story of me walking around the football track during a break at a game with my girlfriend at the time, Alyssa Lepping, who was a cheerleader at the time at our biggest rival who we were playing at the time…her in her cheerleading skirt, and me an my kilt on windy evening.  But, another story for another day.  

Back to the story of my junior year…on the last day of the season, so much expectation.   We cheered on our team with so much enthusiasm.  And, we were playing another rival that was having a very down year for them.  Our cheers lasted about 10 minutes into the game.  They crushed us.  The following week we played in the first round to the eventual state champs, Trinity HS.  Another losing season.  

So much of that has gone on in 2021, this season of so much change…daily change.  We want things to be different, yet, we’ve been so disappointed.  

Yet, the story remains the same, the story of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem.  And in this story is so much of Jesus’ character.  He sends out disciples to find a colt to ride in on…assuring the owners that it would be returned.  This is important as Jerusalem was occupied territory.  Roman soldiers, by law, were allowed to take and keep whatever they wanted, without returning it.  Which, has always been the way of empire:  take for the good of the empire, but not for the common good.  Take over relational commitment.  

It’s also interesting to note that in the other gospel readings of this story that the colt is actually referred to as a donkey.  Either way, this has significance.  Jesus is coming into Jerusalem, before the Passover, not on a warhorse, coming in with pomp and circumstance, but in humility on a colt or on a donkey.  

This donkey was, as the great British 19th century poet and theologian, GK Chesterton says:

The tattered outlaw of the earth,

   Of ancient crooked will;

Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,

   I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;

   One far fierce hour and sweet:

There was a shout about my ears,

   And palms before my feet.

The donkey met the moment.  We are called to meet this moment as well.  We are at the start of “holy week”.  A holy week in history like no other.  We have been on a Lenten journey together, as a community.  Filled with struggle, doubts, and change in a season where so much is happening.  In this consumer driven society, we have had to let go, slow down, lament, grieve, and let some things die.  Now, we come to a week where at the end we have three days:  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.  We remember communion, we are in this together.  We remember death, we all have to go through it, not just physically, but the death of all sorts of things in our lives.  And we remember that death is not the final answer, that there is resurrection, new beginnings out of the old.

And, we walk this journey with the humility and trust that Jesus demonstrates on this colt or donkey.  As well as the resolve to love well.

Pilate, who would be Jesus’ judge by the end of the week, is also coming into Jerusalem at the same time at another gate.  Pilate’s residence was on the coast, he travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover festival as well.  However, when he came in, it was with a full military escort, pomp and circumstance, showing off the full power of Rome.  

Yet, here is Jesus, coming to Jerusalem, on the colt or donkey.  Not taking, riding in humility.  Assured of who he was, not knowing how the week would turn out, and not letting the expectations of the crowds get to him.  But, looking at them with compassion.  Taking it in, being present in the moment, listening the the cheers, but also looking deeper and trusting God.  Jesus takes it in, goes to the temple, and then retreats to Bethany with his disciples.

Friends, take in this week with humility, trust, and deep intent.  Intent to remember that we are in this together with one another and with Christ as Christ’s body.  Cheer today, mourn and lament this week for all that has gone, and celebrate next Easter that Christ has risen!  

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