Walking with Jesus
Tony E Dillon Hansen
Sermon based upon Mark 11:1-11, Psalm 118
The lectionary gives us the option of celebrating the Psalms or the Passion on this Sunday. For me, I have always regarded Psalm Sunday as a nice gasp of air in the long season or reflection with Jesus being celebrated upon entry in Jerusalem.
For us today as we conclude our Lenten journey through Holy Week, let us consider how we walk with Jesus. Do we celebrate our witness or let people alter our impressions? Do we let our potential be all the God means for us, and do we walk with the hope of Jesus in our hearts?
We know this same crowd that celebrates and shouts “hosanna” today; these same people will turn and shout “crucify him.”
This says something about our human nature that even when we get good and amazing things, we want to analyze it (pun intended) to death. We love the majesty and strength of our faith, but somehow we easily allow society, material - people to twist it into something unrecognizable.
We can witness Jesus walking and preaching with a crowd in amazement of the scene. We witness the truth of Jesus, and then same crowd will tell him he is not worthy of our mercy – all because we allowed someone to distort our witness. How do we go from amazing to death?
So today let that be a lesson to us to instead of easily moving to cold-hearts and unmerciful, that we might see in each of us (especially ourselves) this God-given capacity to love and to nurture – to have compassion and to seek justice and truth rather than allow ourselves to be manipulated away from truth – to have courage and to speak up. When we see violence and racism, we call them out, and we advocate for peace, community and love in our world with whole hearts.
You see, when we let people change the story for us, we allow seeds of apathy and discontent. Then, we give up our voice; we give up our witness and violence persists.
We cannot let them do this anymore because God calls us to Christian service, to justice for all and for love of God and neighbor. We cannot stay silent against the violence and hate burning our community. We must hold leaders accountable.
That is why people marched with Jesus then, why neighbors march today and why we ought to support them and lift up their voice with ours.
A child asked why we study things like the Civil War. Maybe because we study history (and these scriptures) to prevent the mistakes of old rather than trying to find ways around the truth.
How we can start that is to look at the curious colt in the story. Jesus instructs the disciples to go find the colt, and they find this one tied to a door. The response is not just a simple question of “why are you untying this colt?” They are taking away someone (some family’s) livelihood and future. The words “the Lord has need of it” tells us that not only did the disciples understand, but the family giving up the colt understands. Why and why is that important to us? (I am so glad you asked. )
Jesus asks this person/family, like any disciple, to hand over all we have to God. Just like we talked about last week with us as the grain of wheat (the seed) becoming all that God makes of us. So what are we waiting for and why do we hesitate?
They didn’t know the ending and the colt doesn’t know the ending. Yet if we untie the colt, untie ourselves from what holds us and walk with Jesus, perhaps we can let God do the rest. Then really the questions is “what is possible?”
Actually, the question really is what holds us. Is it the crowd pleasing (that really doesn’t take care of us), is it the manipulation of our witness of truth - to be something we are not, is it fear of social isolation for standing up for justice and God’s love, or is it ourselves not living into the treasures we have (not recognizing the gifts God has given to us?
Untie what is holding you and walk with Jesus.
There are people that will stop and question, “but but but the details? I don’t know all of the detail.” I submit to you that God will answer what you need – in fact, you have all you need to get started.
As a software engineer that is crucial to getting projects off the ground. While it is good to examine and consider the aspects, some minor details can keep us (and our ego, our expectation ) from doing what is truly possible. When we try to analyze everything, we can get into analysis paralysis. Or, We can use what we know and let the possible happen, then things can happen. If we hold up progress, justice or God’s work, what are we ultimately left with - nothing more than we started.
So untie yourself from your fear. Untie yourself from Facebook and truth manipulators and live into what is possible. Find your voice and speak! Untie yourselves, walk with Jesus, and carry that cross for Jesus because Jesus has your back!
Open up your “moral imagination” to the possible, and let God work magical mysteries within you. Learn from Jesus, trust Jesus and live with Jesus in your heart. When you understand untie your colt because God needs it, untie your colt because God needs you and your potential. Untie the colt so that you unleash your potential and God’s potential in our community. Let your witness be heard when you see injustice. Then, reveal your witness of Christ in your heart and see the arc of justice bend towards God.
Then you walk with Jesus.
Thanks be to God.