If you see a U-Haul this Saturday on Highway 10 heading east, please honk! It is my rented moving truck. I have been surprised to have so many asking me which moving company I am going with. Moving company? Why?
”I have sons,” I respond.
All the four Gospels record the story of Jesus’ unique transportation as he enters Jerusalem (read and compare Matthew 21: 1-11, 14-16, Mark 11: 1-11, Luke 19: 28-40, John 12: 12-19). For many, including his disciples, the expectation had been that Messiah would be like a military general who would defeat the Roman occupation army with sword and violence. Jesus surprises everyone when he asks the disciples to find a donkey and its colt. When both are brought to him he chooses to ride on the foal or colt. This unusual means of transportation says that he comes in humility bringing peace, not a sword. His disciples, the spectators and religious and political rulers are confused, they do not understand the meaning of the colt - and the die is cast. His enemies see him as a usurper of their power, a challenge to status quo and will seek his death.
Our means of transportation says something about who we are; I hope one day to be driving an electric car although I appreciate my energy efficient hybrid. My most recent purchase is a lightweight bike that I will ride in a resolution to choose healthier living habits. But more important than the means of travel is the destination of our lives, where we are heading and how we are living in the journey.
What I most admire about Jesus in his last weeks is that though the storm clouds are gathering he stays focused on ministry and on staying the course, to do the will of God. Jerusalem is where he will die.
It matters most on our journey that we do not get distracted from the essentials of living in right relationships, of seeking justice through our words and actions and doing God’s will which directs us to always live in the light. It matters how we face prejudice or speak out against xenophobia, homophobia or Islamophobia. It matters how we face adversity and choices relating to our later years and end of life. It takes courage to follow Jesus in how he lived and also how he died.
It matters how we stay strong when others don’t understand what our choices and decisions are all about. Living Jesus’ way brings negative comments from others that may distract us from the way forward. Stay the course in doing what is true.
I enjoy these words from a Lenten hymn.
Ride on, ride on, the time is right:
the roadside crowds scream with delight;
palm branches mark the pilgrim way
where beggars squat and children play.
Ride on, ride on, your critics wait,
intrigue and rumour circulate;
new lies abound in word and jest,
and truth becomes a suspect guest.
Ride on, ride on, though blind with tears,
though voiceless now and deaf to jeers.
Your path is clear, though few can tell
their garments pave the road to hell.
Ride on, ride on, God's love demands.
Justice and peace lie in your hands.
Evil and angel voices rhyme:
you are the man and this the time.
(John L. Bell, VU 126)
We travel on our Lenten journey together as brothers and sisters! The move is on!