Thursday's Thought for Sunday's Service 

April 6, 2017

 Dear Friends,

This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon Matthew 21:1-11:

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”” (Matthew 21:1–11, NIV)

I imagine a bustling city filled, crammed, teeming with people with accompanying sounds, and movement.  It’s a sensual variety which engages, compels, and sweeps one along almost as if anyone would be unable to control their own will and direction.

My imagination is not far removed from what always has been and always will be – crowds.  Although we may separate ourselves for a time, drawing apart in restful solitude in a tucked away place, we can’t ever escape them, those times when we all gather across several communities for one event or other, one celebration or other.  The reasons for this are varied, but often people come together for a singular purpose and focus, frequently with everyone’s attention cast toward a small group or individual. Connecting to the life of Jesus, simply from the way we occasionally become one with a crowd, we remember what it means to join with others and strain to catch a glimpse of what’s happening, of who it is that has captured the attention of so many.

In a more detailed way, a Palm Sunday celebration at church including its pageantry, prayers and preaching also reminds me of what it would be like before the curtain opens on the first scene to a passion play, where a large audience gathers and finds seats all around a stage in anticipation of finding out more about the life of Jesus.  What happens to him?  The dramatic recreation begins to describe a series of events in the days immediately preceding the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  The story portrays, pulls, unites those gathered there in a singular purpose, focus, direction…  We strain to understand… not only do we ask, “Who is this?” but, “Why did it happen” “What does this mean for me?”


       When gathering around the life of Jesus portrayed,       is the crowd there for nothing, for naught?

Or might it be more like an opportunity, a place which reveals a spiritual thought.


     Is our life just a mixture of anxiety, difficulty,      complexity fraught?

Or is it an expression of a greater idea, something he exemplified, brought.


Joining together we might find a tendency to get caught

In the ideals of love, forgiveness, justice… the ones he taught.

Who is this one we strain to see, the one who is sought…

a presence in this passion where righteousness is wrought.



Pastor Rich Wagner