Today’s WORD (Text) John 12:12-16
12/ The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13/ So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—the King of Israel!” 14/ Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written” 15/ “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16/ His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.
We will worship the Christ on this Palm Sunday against the backdrop of a pandemic that has endured now for twelve months. More than 125 million people have been infected globally, and 2.75 million have died. Approximately 71 million people have recovered. We have witnessed widescale losses to economies, livelihoods, disruptions to our way of life, and so much more. Try as we might when Sunday comes to duplicate the pageantry of the years past, we will do so in world filled with loss, and yet reeling from unprecedented social, economic, and political challenges. As we commemorate Christ’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem it might help to recall that he too was encompassed by unthinkable uncertainty having predicted his own death. While the crowds worshipped, and called upon Jesus to save them, he would eventually call upon God to save him also. Not all of the complex meaning of the moment was fully understood in real time then. Not all of the complex meaning of our current season is fully understood by the disciples of Christ today. Nevertheless, as Christ’ faithful followers, we will worship him this Sunday, celebrating his triumphal entry even as we withstand the tests and trials surrounding us.
Is there a concerning life question or complex spiritual issue that is occupying your thoughts or your community today? Consider that Jesus was also filled with mixed emotions as he rode into the city of Jerusalem more than 2000 years ago. How do we continue proceeding toward God’s call on our lives while carrying weighty spiritual questions deep within?
Gracious God, we confess the questions and concerns that occupy us on the inside even as we seek to obey your call upon our lives. Have mercy upon us for who we really are, and for the emotions we truly feel, no matter how resolute and strong we appear to be to others. O Thou, to whom all hearts are open, and from whom no secret is hid, cleanse the thoughts of our minds by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your Holy Name. Amen.
The Passionary Intention
Today, I choose to live my life with passion. Today, I intend to follow Christ more nearly, love more dearly and incarnate God’s grace more clearly by asking myself three questions:
- Where will I follow Christ today?
- To whom shall I demonstrate Jesus’ love and justice today?
- How can I play my part in practicing the presence of Christ, right here, right now?
The Passionary Movement Word and Witness devotion is published weekdays (Monday – Friday). Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies is the author of today’s devotion.
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