I'm in the middle of reading a book about Jesus' last week, starting with Palm Sunday. It states something I've not heard, or at least remembered. At the same time Jesus was processing into Jerusalem and being celebrated with hosannas and garments and branches waving -- at the other side of Jerusalem, Pilate was processing in with his impressive horses and guards and weapons. Pilate lived in Cesaria where the weather was more pleasant, for it was on the water, plus it was a new and more modern town. He only came to Jerusalem when there were Jewish High Holy Days, which made it more likely there might be uprisings.
It is suggested that Jesus timed this entrance as an instructive drama. On one side of town came a humble procession celebrating the inner kingdom and the great spiritual leader who touched the hearts and minds of the average person, the man who called them brother and sister and opened the Kingdom of God to all. On the other side of town came the procession representing domination, oppression, violence and ego in all its pomp and circumstance.
The drama was soon followed the next day with a showdown in the temple grand courtyard. The high priests were no longer holy men in the line of Aaron but were selected by the Romans. There were many changes of priests, for they had to fully cooperate with the Romans to stay in power. The minute they did not follow precisely, they were thrown out. So they sold out.
I can see it in my mind's eye. Can you?
History is rife with those who ruthlessly dominate. In fact, there has been domination as a way of life in most of history for most of humanity. Liberty is a rare thing, even today. The temptation to dominate rears its ugly head over and over throughout the hallways of time.
I suppose it is quite seductive to go for the glam and glitter over the quiet and humble. So, I'm wondering which procession are we in? Do we chase after power and attention? Do we humbly serve to make the world a better place? Are we cheering the dramatic procession of the oppressor? Do we have the courage to quietly shine the Light in every little corner?
Who do we follow? We can check ourselves out by noting how much time, energy, talent and money we spend in our lives --- for what? What are our genuine priorities? All we have to do is observe ourselves impartially. and it is clear.
Lord, I lay down the bright shiny objects that draw me into the procession that leads to oppression of anyone. I open my heart, my mind, my life to the humble Shepherd and do my best to follow in His Footsteps.