Tell me – how many cheers do you give today. And that the answer to that depends on whither you greet this morning with unalloyed joy or with mixed feelings. Certainly Christ greeted the Jerusalem crowd with the latter. As a result, our lesson this morning speak volumes for many of us here – many also who are just out there – many who have mixed feelings about entering.
For you see, those that had come out to greet Jesus were all for giving Palm Sunday 3 cheers. They were hoping of a warrior leader coming to bring independence from the heavy yoke of the Roman Empire. Jesus’ followers were cheering someone different. Since, they had a passion for a vision of a holy man living long and healing all their woes, ailments and misfortunes. Therefore for both groups their quest for a spiritual oligarch entering the corrupt city to cleanse it seemed to be fulfilled in front of their eyes. No wonder they were full of the joys of life.
The Jewish leaders too were grimly satisfied. Because, the ‘fly in their particularly rewarding ointment’ was entering their parlour. Moreover, they had succeeded in enraging the Roman spider about this dangerous opinion former. And so their scheming for a quick end to this risk to their overly well stacked house of cards, was coming to fruition. They too then had some quiet cheers of satisfaction.
On the other hand, Jesus on his donkey saw it all – he saw what was in the crowds hearts – he indeed had the whole picture. Therefore that day, not surprisingly, he had mixed feelings. One the one hand, he must had felt lifted by the cheering crowd. Since he knew he would meet their aspirations yet not in the way they foresaw. However he also was fully aware of the Jewish Hierarchy’s plots and their likely outcome. Therefore, he at the same time was full of foreboding about his future.
We too may feel the same this day. We have much to be thankful for – much to be contented with – much of which to be hopeful and joyful about. Nevertheless, other things in our lives cause us anxiety, fearfulness even depression.
That is not really surprising for that is much of the human condition particularly in these straightened times. Mixed emotions are part of thoughtful and authentic living. Ambivalent feels are in truth part of being consciously alive.
If then you are of a turbulent mind today let the courage of Christ be encourager. Since although he knew the roller coaster of emotions that surrounded him – he rode on; since he knew the pain ahead – he rode on. Since he knew the ultimately triumph of eternal joy over temporary darkness – he rode on.
And so must we.
For by so doing we give not one cheer but two cheers for today and all the days to come. But we then must listen – listen hard – listen for the echo of the third. For that alone comes he who looks back across the empty tomb – the one who looks forward through the temporary pain to peace beyond our understanding – the one who reaches across the chasm and beckons us safely over.