We wave our palms!
We throw down our coats!
We shout hosanna!
We count our many blessings, God. We name them one by one. For our family and friends, for our freedoms and protections, for our church and our faith. We thank you as the Giver of all good gifts for all of those blessings in our lives! But… eventually our arms get a little tired of waving and our voices grow weary of hosanna…
After all, we like that we live in a free place, but we wonder sometimes if those who govern us have our best interests in mind. We hear stories of votes bought and arms twisted and wonder if freedom is really what we possess.
After all, we love our family and friends, but they make it hard sometimes, when they leave us, or hurt us, or fail to understand us.
And after all, our memories of church are warm and safe, but it seems different now and the good old days seem older all the time.
So, on this Palm Sunday, Lord, we wave our palms…but maybe not as high.
We throw down our coats, but just the old ones that we were going to give away anyway.
We shout hosanna, but we doubt on the inside whether or not you are really coming to be our king.
And before we know it, we are just fine denying the freedoms and protections of others. After all, I had to work for mine…why shouldn’t they?
And before we know it, we are just fine without those friends and even that family. The hateful words get easier to say with practice and looking out for their needs becomes so much harder than looking out for number one.
And before we know it, the church and the faith don’t seem to be all that important to us anyway. If they aren’t going to take care of me, why should I take care of them? If they don’t do what I like, maybe I ought to do something else with my time. After all, I can hang out with friends at the bridge club, and give canned goods at the office, and hear a good sermon online if I am in the mood.
And before we know it…
We have stopped waving our palms and started waving our fists.
We have stopped throwing down our coats and started clutching them from the outstretched arms of those freeloaders.
We have stopped shouting “hosanna” and have started shouting “crucify him.”
Before we know it, we have turned our backs on gratitude and civility and generosity and kindness and commitment and mercy and love and grace. Because those are nice things if they fit my lifestyle, but you can’t expect me to work too hard, can you? And before we know it, we have shrugged our shoulders at the sight of another would-be savior on the cross, one who didn’t know when to shut up.
Pity. Rather liked that one. Maybe the next one will live up to expectations.