March 14, 2008

Lowly Entry

As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!"
Luke 19:37-38

Say what you will about Jesus, but no one can accuse him of vanity. Throughout his ministry, he regularly chooses to usurp his own status and conduct himself in a lowly, modest estate. Such a pattern causes the Apostle Paul to sing with the early Christians: "He did not regard his status as something to be exploited, but emptied himself …" (Philippians 2:6-7).

Near the end of his ministry, Jesus' final entry into Jerusalem was a significant crossroads, literally and vocationally. How would he conduct himself? How would he make his obvious entrance? How would he respond to the great attention his word and way had received?

Faced with these choices, Jesus makes surprising selections: A scruffy donkey, not a white stallion; common men's cloaks, not a rug of royalty. And instead of professional choirs or a trumpet procession, a chorus of rough rocks are his hired backup singers.

If God is indeed this Jesus' Father, then we all imagine that at his disposal is absolute power and might. But as it turns out, to the surprise of our impulsive faith, absolute power is not the greatest attribute of our Lord. His strength is in his weakness. He who judges us on high has become our servant down low. This is his decision. (Isaiah 53:4-12)

As his covenant people, we are derivative representatives of God's lowly kingdom as we daily enter the gates of our communities. How will we conduct ourselves as servants of the Servant? Will we exploit our status as "the saved" or will we empty ourselves and thereby demonstrate God's saving-weakness to all?

A blessed Palm Sunday to you all.