Wednesday, March 13, 2013
'Go to the village opposite, and as you enter it you will find a tethered colt that no one has ever yet ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, "Why are you untying it?" you are to say this, "The Master needs it.”’ The messengers went off and found everything just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners said, 'Why are you untying it?' and they answered, 'The Master needs it.' So they took the colt to Jesus and, throwing their cloaks on its back, they lifted Jesus on to it.
Jesus, you deliberately chose this way to enter the Holy City. You were making a statement, calling to mind a centuries-old prophecy of a king who would come to the city not to conquer but to bless and unite.
You wanted them to see you riding and remember the words of Zechariah about a day of rejoicing when a new king would bring the peace of God, establishing it from sea to sea.
The peace you offered came not through the power of the sword and military might. You did not seek to conquer anyone. You appeared to welcome them into new relationships with each other based not on fear or status, not on the desire to dominate and subjugate but on mutual care and regard.
You saw the belovedness of every living soul in the eyes of God who wants all to shine with dignity and beauty, receiving and sharing the wonder of life and love that pours from the divine heart.
You brought a kingdom that reached to the poor and the forgotten, the diseased and the broken, and set hearts free to become the love of the One who is Love. You brought the kingdom of God’s holy dream and ancient intention.
You healed and sat with those who imagined they were far beyond the favor and care of God. In your presence, you revealed how wrong they were, how badly they underestimated the wonder of God and the reach of divine compassion.
So you didn’t come to the city with a display of immense power, but on a young animal, riding awkwardly along, close to the ground where even children could reach out and touch you.
You wanted to be with and near them so they would know you came to bring blessing to those who didn’t imagine themselves blessed, bringing peace to those who longed for love and grace to replace the bruising power of dominating forces that controlled their lives.
I not only see, but feel your intention, Jesus, and I pray: May the intention of your loving kingdom rule my heart and words this day. May I, too, be a sign of peace for hearts that hunger for the peace you bring.
Pr. David L. Miller
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
So they took the colt to Jesus and, throwing their cloaks on its back, they lifted Jesus on to it. As he moved off, they spread their cloaks in the road, and now, as he was approaching the downward slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole group of disciples joyfully began to praise God at the top of their voices for all the miracles they had seen. They cried out: Blessed is he who is coming as King in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!
This Saturday we will be led by children. Behind a cross held high, 10 third-graders will process into the sanctuary, having been prepared to receive the Holy Eucharist for the first time.
Their minds will little know or comprehend the mysteries of what the church teaches about the meaning of the Eucharist.
As they come forward to be given the broken bread and cup, I hope they will look at their empty hands cupped to receive. Their hands tell them all they need to know about who they are … and who Christ is.
Christ is the giver; they are receivers of eternal life and deathless love.
They receive, even as they are received by God and fed with a bread that lasts forever.
They will march into church, small, possessing no great strength or influence, largely innocent of life, but much loved by their families and congregation. When the right time comes families and friends will usher them to the table, opening their empty hands with them.
We will join them in this community of the empty-handed, this communion of compassion and companionship in which we all receive from the fullness of the One in whom all fullness of life and love dwell.
This is the community, the kingdom that Jesus brings, and it is for this that the crowds hailed him as the bringer of heaven’s peace to the heart of the earth-bound.
This is his glory. The angels proclaimed it at his birth” Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on Earth.”
The chief miracle of Jesus was not his healing of the broken and blind, nor even raising the dead to life.
The greatest was the creation of a community where all that really matters is the heart’s willingness to receive the blessing and welcome of God--and to share in this communion of gracious welcome.
This is not something we teach to the children. The children teach us.
Pr. David L. Miller
Monday, March 11, 2013
So they took the colt to Jesus and, throwing their cloaks on its back, they lifted Jesus on to it. As he moved off, they spread their cloaks in the road, and now, as he was approaching the downward slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole group of disciples joyfully began to praise God at the top of their voices for all the miracles they had seen.
I understand their joy, and that may be the greatest blessing of all. I know what moves a human heart to release all self-repression, throw caution to the wind and let loose in full-throated praise.
Your friends lifted you, Jesus, on the back of a gentle beast to process into the city.
They lifted you because you had lifted them above mere existence into the presence of God where their hearts were full and they wanted for nothing.
You awakened their hopes that neither they nor this poor planet is abandoned but is enveloped in love and guided to a goal, to final completion when the compassion that fills you fills every heart and relationship.
You stirred their souls to feel this hope within and opened their eyes to see signs of this new kingdom appearing in your face--and even in their hearts, hands and voices as they offered the grace that poured from them in your presence.
You lifted them from mere existence to life and the joy of knowing themselves caught up in God’s total, crazy love for them and all in this world.
You lifted them, and they lifted you, throwing their cloaks on the road and hailing you as the fulfillment of God’s promise to come fulfill their hope for life.
These are not calculated actions on their part but spontaneous joy spilling from the hearts of those who have been lifted into the kind of life and hope they never imagined was possible for them.
Fullness of gratitude cannot be bottled up. It bursts the heart and finds expression, rushing out to give thanks and to bless the source of the startling and joy that comes as utter gift.
Just so, Jesus, this may be your entry of triumph into the holy city, Jerusalem. But it is also the liberation of the human heart from the constraints and chains that hold it captive to fear and hopelessness.
In you, they knew … the heart of the Holy One who holds them and all time.
You lifted them above their sorrows and troubles into a knowing their hearts never knew that they always wanted … and so desperately needed.
So they lifted you.
Pr. David L. Miller