By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
“The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 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!’ Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: ‘Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!’ 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.”—John 12:12-16 (NRSV)
As the sun rose on Saturday, May 20, 2017, it was perfect weather for the Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Parade. As each float or marching group approached, the crowd roared its approval.
Felecia and I were honored to serve as the parade's Grand Marshals. Indeed, it was a fine day for a parade! Springtime is filled with opportunities to participate in community celebrations and activities. With so many choices, how are we to decide when to say yes?
All too often we find ourselves in the wrong parade. The world is full of parades, full of bandwagons. It’s really difficult to know which parade to join, which one to hop on. It’s so easy and so tempting to join the wrong ones, and so hard, sometimes, to get in the right procession. It’s so easy to simply get caught up in the enthusiasm of the crowds and join the procession that has the loudest brass bands or the most elaborate floats or the greatest number of celebrities or the most charismatic leaders.
It’s easy to miss the procession where Jesus is riding on a humble donkey proclaiming dominion, not with violence, but by courageously loving, humbly serving and bravely acknowledging his place among the victims of imperial power.
In that moment, Jesus knew a change was going to come.
Have you ever had such a moment? The moment when you knew what you were put on earth to do, and you were filled with the energy and courage to act. This moment is a life-changer. Instead of fear, this moment brings with it a renewed sense of hope and vitality. It’s a moment that is filled with a vision that is clear and purposeful. It’s the moment your life’s direction is crystallized.
This is an important question to consider, because experiencing such a moment sharpens your focus and increases your confidence. Jesus didn't just enter Jerusalem; he paraded!
In our society, the pace of change has perhaps never been more rapid than it is today. As people of faith in chaotic times, it can be difficult competing with the many voices in our midst. Even when it feels risky and frightening, there is hope.
The Jesus that paraded into Jerusalem gives us the gift of hope. When we bring to Christ our fears, the hope of the resurrection is that this world is not just where Jesus died—this world is where Jesus lives.
Are you marching in the right parade?
Consider this. In the tombs of Egypt, the Pharaohs still languish there, but Jesus is not in the tomb...he is not there...he is risen!
By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston