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In the Wilderness: Life Will Emerge

April 5, 2020
Mama Elk giving her Baby its first bath!

When the snow finally melts and the temperatures begin to rise, there are so many reminders of how life emerges out of the wilderness. We missed its birth by mere minutes but we were there for this baby Elk’s first steps and first bath! A new arrival is celebrated over and over again as our animal neighbors give birth. It is indeed a beautiful sight to behold each Spring here in the Rockies. Sadly this Spring will be different for all of us. The Park is closed, people are Sheltering in Place, and life has changed dramatically. I guess you could say the same thing about Palm Sunday. It wasn’t going to be the usual Passover celebration for Jesus, his disciples, or the people.

If we truly look at what happened on Palm Sunday as Jesus rode into Jerusalem, one might think that it was going to be one heck of an arrival and welcome! At least that was how it began. Various groups had different ideas about what was happening as Jesus entered Jerusalem that day. The Zealots hoped that he was going to usher in a new revolution to overthrow the Romans and their minions. The religious hoped that the appearance of the Messiah would usher in the new age which they were praying for. I am sure that the disciples were caught up in the celebration and enjoying it. Had they forgotten their earlier worries about walking into a trap? Perhaps the joyous crowd gave them pause to think that things would turn out differently.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) It surely seemed like this day was indeed a day of rejoicing for so many. Yet if I place myself in the crowd and intentionally look at Jesus, I believe I would see something different. While everyone else hoped that he would lead them out of the wilderness of occupation and into freedom he knew differently. Jesus was about to make the final wilderness journey of his earthly life and it would be like no other wilderness journey he had ever walked before.

Jesus, what was going through your mind that day? Were you looking out at the crowd and thinking how quickly they would turn from loud Hosannahs to shouts of Crucify Him? Did you know that the disciples who rallied around you would soon disperse into the night and that Judas would betray you with hopes that the Revolution would be kickstarted by that? Were you thinking about your mother and how this was going to pierce her heart as Simeon prophesied? Lord, I can’t even begin to imagine… how your heart was feeling as you rode into Jerusalem…

Michael Card, in his song “Ride on to Die” sings about this Palm Sunday event so long ago. These lyrics speak to my own heart about the conflicting feelings I have on Palm Sunday.

Seems the sorrow untold, as you look down the road
At the clamoring crowd drawing near
Feel the heat of the day, as you look down the way
Hear the shouts of Hosanna the King

Chorus
Oh, daughter of Zion your time’s drawing near
Don’t forsake Him, oh don’t pass it by
On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you, He rides on to die

Come now little foal, though your not very old
Come and bear your first burden bravely
Walk so softly upon all the coats and the palms
Bare the One on your back oh so gently
Midst the shouting so loud and the joy of the crowd
There is One who is riding in silence
For He knows the ones here will be fleeing in fear
When their shepherd is taken away

Chorus
Oh, daughter of Zion your time’s drawing near
Don’t forsake Him, oh don’t pass it by
On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you, He rides on to die

Soon the thorn cursed ground will bring forth a crown
And this Jesus will seem to be beaten
But He’ll conquer alone both the shroud and the stone
And the prophesies will be completed

Chorus
Oh, daughter of Zion your time’s drawing near
Don’t forsake Him, oh don’t pass it by
On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you, He rides on to die

On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you He rides on to die

As we look at Palm Sunday with 2000 years of history between the event and now, I urge you to sit with Jesus in the wilderness of Palm Sunday and Holy Week. Don’t be in such a hurry to rush through the week in an effort to get to Easter Sunday. While we do know that new life will come out of the Wilderness of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, may this be a time of reflection, contemplation, and prayer.

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