Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Selah

As he (Jesus)went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" 
Luke 19:36-38

Today, much of western Christianity celebrates what has come to be known as Palm Sunday, a celebration of Jesus entering Jerusalem, the Triumphal Entry.
It had been prophesied that that promised Messiah would enter Jerusalem riding on a young colt, a donkey, ushering in the new kingdom and the restoration of Israel.

It is from this joyful event that the pivotal incidents of the rest of the week unfold.

We often commemorate this day by waving palm branches in worship, a recognition of the branches that the people waved as Jesus rode into Jerusalem.

But palm branches were not the only thing laid in the path of the coming King.

For those who had made the pilgrimage for the Passover in Jerusalem, they entered an urban area swimming with a mass of fellow worshipers. Many of them came with a few coins in their pockets and the ultimate gear for urban camping, their cloaks.

A cloak in ancient times was the Gortex all-in-one utility item of its day. A cloak was outerwear in the early morning chill, a sleeping bag for night time slumber, an umbrella for inclement weather, a tent, a coat, a shelter, a blanket, a pillow.

And it was with these cloaks that the road to Jerusalem was paved.

His disciples knew something even then, even before the miracle of His crucifixion and resurrection, that paving the road of the Christ would require their all. It would require laying down the covering of self and then, unadorned, proclaiming Jesus as Lord. It would require laying down humanly acquired resources of comfort and shelter, familiarity and self-reliance. It would require relinquishing the known safety of a cherished security blanket and laying it at the feet of a King.

I'm going to keep that in mind today.

I'll enjoy seeing the green fronds wave in honor of His entry. I'll appreciate the enthusiasm of the children and the joy of the adults.

But while I wave my palm frond, I'm going to pray toward releasing my cloak. I want to take my tightly held cloak of comfort and lay it at His feet. I need to release the things that I allow to bring me a sense of security and allow His infinite grace to become my source. And I need to let my cloak of camouflage, my cape of control, to be removed from my neck, to be snapped open in the air and to flutter down to the path, where the King of Glory rides, a road paved in the failures of human effort, forever changed in the triumphal entry of a sacrificial lamb.

Take off your cloaks and pave the road with me, my precious friends.

Behold, He comes, gentle and riding on a donkey. Prepare the way of the Lord.


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