Just Another Morning?

It’s known as Palm Sunday now.

And yet on a particular Sunday two thousand years ago, wasn’t it just another mundane day?

The Jewish Sabbath had ended after Saturday’s light faded into darkness across first-century Palestine. Was that Sunday a morning where coolness lingered, providing a brief respite from the day’s inevitable heat? Or—as women hurried to make the first trip to lift cooking water from the wells or men trudged toward a field to capture wandering sheep—did sweat already slick cheeks before the new day’s mean-spirited sun cleared the horizon?

*          *          *

Just another morning?

A Roman Centurion gazed at the empty desert sky, wondering what Rome really looked like. He’d never been there.

The blacksmith stoked his fire. An order for nails today. Thick ones. Long ones. Damn Romans and their damn demands.

While his youngest daughter trimmed his beard, a Jerusalem shopkeeper debated about raising his prices. After all, the demands would increase as the crowds multiplied around Passover. Continue reading →

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Waving Which Palms?

Matthew 21:1-11Palm Sunday – for Sunday, April 9, 2016

“Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road.” (Matthew 21:8)

Soon there will be fists.

But first there were palms. Open. Fingers spread. Waving.

With those palms waving, did hoarse voices bellow, “Look here! Remember me, Jesus?” Or were the loud words, “God bless you! Thank you, Jesus!” Wouldn’t that second variation be closer to the Biblical Hosanna?

Hosanna! Palm Sunday!

Did those witnessing Jesus’ arrival wave leafy branches or palm leaves? (Only John referenced palm trees, the—in Greek—phoinix)? Some, according to several Gospels, placed cloaks on the road. Whether it was a few supporters or a rambunctious crowd, the Gospel writers depicted the greeters honoring Jesus. However, the honor was tempered by humility. There’s that colt he’s astride rather than a stallion girded for war. And the cloaks on the ground were, well, clothes still sweaty and dirty from wear. Nothing fancy. No red carpets. No paparazzi. Continue reading →

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Lent 6: On Rejecting Jesus

Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29*Palm Sunday (6th Sunday of Lent) – for Sunday, March 20, 2016

“The stone rejected by the builders is now the main foundation stone . . .” (Psalm 118:22)

“Palm Sunday” - Evans Yegon
“Palm Sunday” – Evans Yegon

No one likes rejection.

Before the teen years end, a boy or girl we once gave our wholehearted love to will start dating someone else. It’s okay though, our former flame will say with words that burn, we can still be friends . . .

Rejection!

I sought a job in Oregon once that seemed perfect. My wife and I had moved to the Northwest for her new position at a university and—truly feeling God’s guidance during phone and in-person interviews—I felt humbly confident my future employers would offer me the position. Then came the final phone call . . .

Rejection!

At a ministry conference in the 1980s, I attended a relaxed Q & A with guest speaker Alice Walker of “The Color Purple” fame. As a then young pastor (and longing to be a published author), I asked her how often she’d been rejected in her early career. I can still picture Ms. Walker thoughtfully nodding, and then—gazing at me—saying, “Never.” For a brief, darkish second, I despised her. Why was there always someone who never experienced . . .

Rejection? Continue reading →

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