Day 35 ~ We Are They

image(4)It’s not unusual for me to listen to a Sunday sermon. And as I happen to be married to a man of the cloth, my rough estimations (meaning I did math on my iPhone) reveal that in the past 25 years I have not only listened to weekly sermons, but no less than 1,250 from my own pastor/husband! Tom’s a great speaker and I actually never have trouble listening or concentrating, unless Kelsey is with me, because we do tend to pass notes and giggle….but that’s besides the point. =) What I’m trying to say is that I regularly learn from his teaching, and often jot things down in a notebook or the margins of a bulletin that are then tucked in my Bible and pulled out at always just the right times when God wants to remind me of things, as apparently I have a short memory! =)

So there I was sitting in church on Palm Sunday, one of my favorite celebrations, Kelsey beside me, and two things happened that I’d like to share as we reflect on the Palm Sunday story.

Tom was reviewing the orchestration of the palm-waving parade that welcomed Jesus into the city. Jesus had told his disciples to go to a man’s house and basically tell him to release his donkey and young colt tied up in front of his house, and if there was any question, to just tell the man that Jesus had need of them. That must have worked well, because in fullfillment of prophecy, Jesus did indeed ride that donkey through the streets of Jerusalem with people shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matt. 21:9) as they took palm branches from trees and waved them back and forth in joyful celebration! (I Hosanna-God-Save-Us.can just picture it…)

But not everyone was joyful, scripture tells us, and the High Priests, Parisees and Religious Leaders were at their breaking point with the claims of Jesus, particularly that he was the Son of God. The funny part was they weren’t really denying his miracles and good works; they had witnessed those firsthand themselves, but as Tom pointed out, they were the “religious folk”, and just when I was about to write something in a bulletin margin like “How dare those hypocrites!”, my pastor threw me a curveball. When he said, they were the “religious folk”, he went on to add….ya know…..they were us.

Wait…..what? A little self-disclosure here….it may surprise you to know that I might possibly have just the tiniest stubborn streak that runs down the center of my back, and being called part of the “religious folk” made that thing stand up and tingle! Why do you suppose that is? I can tell you…..I didn’t like being compared with anyone who may possibly be running contrary to Jesus’ teachings. I want to always see myself at his feet, always the “Mary” who would give anything for my Lord, but is that all? Well, no….because I’m far from perfect and even though I do love Him so, I have blind spots and prejudices and biases that God is regularly pointing out to me. Though I like to think SunflowerI am open-minded and grace-filled toward others, there are certain parts of “church” that are sacred to me and I can see having a problem with a revolutionary coming through town and upending things as I know them. So that made me have to think a little deeper on this one….

The second thing of note was toward the end of the service, Tom ran to the back of the church, retrieved two thick fistfulls of fresh palm leaves and proceeded to pass them out to every single person sitting in church. We were to wave them as we sang the last song, “Hosanna in the Highest!”. Now this was more like it! Hand me a palm! But even as Kelsey and I took selfies looking mysterious behind our palm leaves, I wasn’t settled with the whole “religious folk” thing until we were singing the chorus. “Lord, we lift up your name with hearts full of praise, be exalted, oh Lord, our God, Hosanna to the King of Kings.”

Not for the first time has praise released a truth to find its way to my heart. As I turned my heart toward praising the true King of Kings, I invited Him to once again be the King of my heart, and to please, please continue to show me areas of pride and stubborness. He doesn’t need me to defend the church – He doesn’t need me to monitor how anyone else does anything….He just needs my heart.

Adding my “Hosanna!” to yours,

Shellie

Whisper
Jason Upton

Jesus when you speak to me
I hope I’m listening to you
Let this heart of mine receive
What is full of grace and truth

Whisper whisper whisper in my ear
Tell me words I thought I’d never hear
Show me show me show me what you see
Illuminate what’s right in front of me

There’s so much more to what we see
Sometimes I’m scared to take it in
Is that you right in front of me
Are you the stranger or the friend

Whisper whisper whisper in my ear
Tell me words I thought I’d never hear
Show me show me show me what you see
Illuminate what’s right in front of me

What you whisper in my ear
Let it find room in my heart
Like a garden let your words begin to grow
When my faith is prone to fear
Remind me of your love
Remind me that you’ll never let me go

I will not forget
I will not forget
All you’ve done for me

Whisper whisper whisper in my ear
Tell me words I thought I’d never hear
Show me show me show me what you see
Illuminate what’s right in front of me

 

A Table Full of Strangers, Vol. 1, 2015

About Shellie

Welcome ~ I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer and a writer. But most of all I am a woman of faith - I have a deep longing to know and love....God.
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