They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Blessed is the King of Israel!"
Red carpet moment.
Rock star crowds.
That was the scene as Jesus arrived in Jerusalem just five days shy of the Passover.
He was in vogue at the the moment, His approach sparking adulation from the crowds. They cheered Him, waved palm branches, called 'Hosanna' and blessed Him as the King of Israel.
Fickle bunch, this gaggle of groupies.
In a handful of days they will be part of the crowd screaming for His crucifixion.
Or they will be part of a crowd remaining silent.
We are sometimes made of the same stuff as they were. At the amazing worship concert, in the halls of our churches, in the presence of an admired teacher, we 'hosanna' and 'hallelujah' to the beat of peers. We join the chorus, proclaiming Him our Lord, talking the talk.
But when Jesus is controversial, we sometimes hang back. At the dinner party where the intellectuals are smirking at the latest evangelical scandal, in the office break room when someone is proclaiming the benefits of the latest guru they have found, the latest meditation practice, the latest positive thinker, we hesitate.
When the tempo of the crowd turns, we falter.
This morning, I will celebrate Palm Sunday with a frond waving in my hand. I will symbolically welcome Christ into the New Jerusalem again and welcome Him as King.
But when the palm frond dries out to a dull brown, when the music ends and the adulation pauses, what will be my cry then? Will I soft-shoe my love for Him? Will I hesitate in the tide of the crowd?
May I proclaim You, Lord, when a surge of spurning swirls around me. May I proclaim you in gentleness, in hope. May I proclaim You King amongst a people who are elbowing for their own way.
May I proclaim You beyond the sway of the palm fronds.