April 9, 2017

Reading Matthew 21:1-11 (NRSV)

Who doesn’t love a parade?

Parades have out-of-the-ordinary sights and sounds, and the anticipation of the next spectacle coming around the corner. The participants get a reaction from a new section of the crowd every few minutes.

Not all parades are the same, however. I was recently struck by the contrast in my experiences. I once marched as a teen-aged musician in a parade of beauty contestants; decades later I marched down the same street as an older protestor in support of women’s rights!

Jesus experienced a more extreme contrast.

Today’s scripture describes the parade we celebrate on Palm Sunday. Crowds shout “Hosanna!” They bless the one who comes in the name of God, and lay down their coats and tree branches for Jesus to ride into the city.

A few days later, crowds shout, “Crucify him!” They jeer along the same city streets as Jesus parades past, carrying the cross to his death.

I don’t love all parades. I bet God doesn’t either.

God loves us and sent Jesus to bless us. Parades that can be a blessing for participants and observers alike are the parades to celebrate.

For them, we shout “hosanna” for God’s blessing!

Let us pray. O, God, forgive us when we parade our worst traits in front of you. Help us to turn a corner and show traits that would be worth a shouted “hosanna.” May we bless the people around us as your love has blessed us. Amen.

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