Palm Sunday Musings: Moving Beyond Great Expectations

Today, Sunday 4/17/11, is Palm Sunday. It is the day that we remember and celebrate Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem where people placed palm fronds before Him. Palm fronds historically mean triumph and victory[i] and the act of laying them down before someone was a common welcome for a coming king or hero.[ii] The crowd was anticipating Jesus arrival. Part of the great anticipation stems from the resurrection of Lazarus. The Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Church recognize the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday as Lazarus Saturday with belief that Lazarus was raised from the dead on that day.[iii]  The palm Sunday account in John 12 does suggest that the resurrection of Lazarus was fairly recent as the crowd and followed him and those conspiring to kill Jesus also want to kill Lazarus. 

 So the scenario is that Jesus shown Himself to have power over death in resurrecting Jesus and approached Jerusalem.  The crowd was rife with anticipation. Jesus showed himself to have power over death. Expectations soared. The thoughts had to be The Messiah had finally arrived as who else has power over death. Finally the Son of David is coming to claim the throne, set all things right, and set them free from home and establish the reign of David.  They expected great and big things.  God’s plans were quite different.  Soon the crowd would turn.  Many who proclaimed “Hosanna” later proclaimed “Crucify Him!”  What changed? 

God’s plan was not what people expected.  They were expecting immediate relief and victory. They were focused on this life and the political tyranny they lived under.  They looked with eyes of this world, not eyes on the eternal world.  They looked for a conquering king, not a lamb to be slain. God ways did not meet the human expectation. Even those who did not join in the refrain to kill Jesus did not get it.  So the retreated and withdrew not having a clue what was going on.  They gave everything to follow Jesus, for what? To see him die?  They didn’t sign up for that, even though told over and over that was the plan, they didn’t get it.  No rather, on Palm Sunday, expectations were great.  Lazarus was alive and who could stop Jesus. He will bring victory.  

Guess what, we often still do not get it.  We have expectations. We get caught up in this world. God does not do things the way we expect. We fail to see His way and His victory. We often get angry when God doesn’t match our expectations or withdraw when we have no idea what God is doing as it does not match how we think things should play out.  But God’s ways are not our ways.  God did bring victory. He used the events to follow to redeem all that will surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Jesus is making all things right, but still we can miss it. We can still get distracted with the ways of the world and what we want God to do in this world, in the here and now. Life can be focused on what is going on “immediately” and the varied “tyrannies of suffering” we live under. We want all made right and want to see God working now.  Ah, but God asks us to surrender in spite of all before us.  Whatever pain, whatever struggle, whatever is going on in this life. The call is to trust Him and surrender to Him.  This is day to day moment by moment. We each need to get past our great expectations and surrender. 

And here is what is worth focusing on today, and the true celebration. Jesus is soon coming to make all things right.  He will be coming back as the Lion of Judah.  He will be coming to set all things right. He who has power over death is coming and will conquer all. Every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord above all Lords, King above all Kings.  At that point, it will be truly Hosanna in the Highest, for there is none like the Lamb who was slain who comes forth as the Lion of Judah, He above all others.  He who is both Lamb and Lion.  The time is coming, rejoice. Set aside the thoughts and expectations of self, for God has His ways. In Him alone is victory.  Look to His life, and let go of whatever you hold onto. While it is still Today, let go and surrender, for there is no other way.


Darkness to Light

There is a day where darkness fell

This day the Lamb was slain

Evil laughed

Victory declared

Earth shook

Dead walked

Veil torn in two

Then came the day

Darkness turned to light

Stone rolled away

Empty tomb

Lamb that was slain

Alive a new

Light grows

Evil moans

Sins paid

Hallelujah

Two Rivers

Two Rivers
by Timothy G. Blake

Curtain rises
On knees beseech
Take me to thy River
Flowing from the fountain
In your temple
Thy will be done
Father gifts assent
Vision unfolds

Mighty City
On a Center Hill
Holy
Majestic
River flowing
Ever widening
Flowing Swift
Sure

Around the bend
Widest Point
Large Crowd
Venders
Lights
Sign post
Take drink
Imbibe
Enter in
Soak
One by one
Water swarmed
The water sweet
Aloe to the soul
Water soothes
Cleanses
Pleasure beyond depth

Euphoria Explodes
Laughing
Singing
Dancing
Playing
The crowd chants
Everyone needs to get some
More! More!

River retrace
To the source
Outside the gates
One of great stature
Crowned with Little Horns

Through his bull horn speaks
Gives command
The Time has come
All loyalty require
Brand them

Creature of Lights
Many Men of Renown
Do his biding
Line of Humanity
One by one
Branded
Herded
Commanded

Yet there are others
Already branded
My sheep
Bullhorn speaks
Herd them all
Threshing floor

Lambs slaughtered
Blood flows
The Slain Lamb weeps
and wounds grow deep

The ever present servants of the Lamb
Attend to the lamb
Gathering tears till cups overflow
Then wash the killing field
With the cup of tears
Blood of the slain
Tears of the lamb
Gather together
Mighty river is formed

Flashback
Wide River berth
Laughter
Signing
Dancing
Mirth
Many caught unguarded
Strong undertow
Drags under
Dashed
Many lose bearing
Swept away to the rivers end
Where vultures gather

Yet some awake
and flee
Sounding Alarm

Vision fades
Mourn
Confusion
Dismay
Lion Roars
“FEAR NOT!”

Vision Unfolds
Center of city
Eyes beheld strange sight
Spigotted rock
And a pile of scrolls
The voice of the Lamb spoke
Remove thy shoes
This is Holy Ground

Fear and Amazement
Drop to bended knee
Take drink from the rock
Spigot turned
The Living water flowed
A Simple Chalice filled
Blood red
Mouth Alive
All taste at once
Suddenly
Peace and Joy
within
Newness
Life
No more thirst
Bubbling to overflow
From the pores flowed blood red
Anointed Bathed, Cleansed

The voice of the lamb spoke
Take eat a scroll
The word consumed
Bitter sweet
Transforming
Truth known in deepest parts
And a sudden glow, light within
The Lamb spoke
Go and Forget not!

Walking temples
Fountains within
Living water
Blood red flowing
Touching
Giving life

The Word firmly planted
Lighting the way
In the darkness
Of realms outside
Where snakes in darkness wait
Snares and traps
But no matter where the temples walk
Living water flows,
Blood red
And each step
The Light of the word shines
Seeding darkness with seeds of truth
Each walking temple a stream

Vision fades
Questions remain
Voice of the Lamb speaks
My son, two rivers you have seen.
The River of judgment
The River of Life.