Gracious and Loving God,
Be with us. Open our hearts and minds
By the power of your Holy Spirit
That as scripture is read
And your word proclaimed
We may hear with joy
What you say to us today
Luke 19:28-40 Common English Bible (CEB)
After Jesus said this, he continued on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
As Jesus came to Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he gave two disciples a task. He said, “Go into the village over there. When you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘Its master needs it.’” Those who had been sent found it exactly as he had said.
As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
They replied, “Its master needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their clothes on the colt, and lifted Jesus onto it. As Jesus rode along, they spread their clothes on the road.
As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen. They said,
“Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.”
Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop!”
He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout.”
As he was traveling down, they laid their clothes on the road. And a multitude of disciples began to gather, laying their cloaks on the road and celebrating.
I like the image of the crowd of disciples gradually building- starting with the two that brought Jesus the donkey and helped him onto it. I think about this quiet ride as they lay their coats onto the road, only the sound of the donkey’s hooves on the dirt as it slowly walks toward Jerusalem. As it walks down the road the rest of the disciples follow suit, laying their cloaks on the road while another person joins, doing the same thing until a huge crowd gathers.
Now there’s cheering, chanting, and laughter as the crowd ushers Jesus from the mount of olives into the city of Jerusalem.
Luke tells us that this crowd gathered and celebrated because of the great things they had seen. Not because they understood what lay ahead. I’m sure some of those in the crowd, maybe the first ones to lay their coats and start cheering were filled with hope and excitement, but I wonder how many followed suit because of the others gathered. Those for whom the mighty things Jesus had done was gather this crowd and garner its excitement to begin with.
We’re all somewhere in this crowd. As we begin journeying into Holy Week this year it can feel overshadowed by the pandemic and the impact it’s having on our lives, our community and our world. It’s easy to not feel the excited anticipation of Easter and easier still to not have the emotional energy to follow the roller coaster that Holy Week brings.
So this week as we continue to adjust to our new normal: whether it’s finding the motivation for online courses, struggling with the sickness or loss of a loved one, mourning the independence of campus life or trying to push through the anxiety and fear that is in the air – remember this: Wherever you are in the crowd today- whether you’re full of hope and excitement or just going through the motions, Jesus is still entering Jerusalem. He’s still showing up and giving us a glimpse of God in the midst of our lives. And ask yourself, what does it look like to lay down your coat and have hope for the future?
Each day this week, check back here on the UKirk Social Media pages and website to find videos, music, devotions and worship opportunities from Presbyterian college communities all over the country, as we journey together toward Easter. Maybe like the crowd of disciples that gathered as Jesus entered Jerusalem, we can lay down our coats and build a celebration together.
Reflection written and given by Rev. Max Hill from UKirk St. Louis https://www.facebook.com/ukirk.stlouis/