I find these words by The Rev. Ted Churn, Executive Presbyter of New Hope Presbytery, a helpful Palm Sunday introduction. – Pastor John
“Palm Sunday sets in motion the final days of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Living on the other side of that first Easter, we embrace the mystery and believe in God’s victory over death. But what if we were part of the crowd on that day when Jesus entered Jerusalem? Would Jesus be for us a King or an Intruder? And what about today? Do we allow him to claim us as God’s own, or is His way too intrusive, too inconvenient, or even too threatening to the controls we want, the power we long for, the things we look to define our popularity?
Phillips Brooks, American clergyperson and Episcopal bishop, preached a sermon entitled Intruder and King. I offer this excerpt from his sermon as we prepare for Holy Week.
‘So Jesus came into Jerusalem….at once as an Intruder and a King. There were those along the streets who owed to Him the straightness of their limbs, the sight of their eyes, the clear, sane reason of their brains. They made the old streets ring with shouts of welcome. There were others whom he had disappointed and defeated. He had trampled on their traditions, contradicted their doctrines, spoiled their trade. With muttered curses they saw Him go by in His triumph. What a confusion! The city was divided against itself. But through it all Jesus held on His way, claiming the town for His town because it was His Father’s. Whether it owned His claim or spurred it, whether it welcomed Him or cursed Him, through the mixed tumult of its welcome and its curses he went on His way, claiming it all for His own. And so He claims our hearts. An Intruder and a King at once He seems to those hearts as he stands on their threshold. ‘”