11 Apr Re:Lent – Humbled
Sermon – April 9th, 2017 – Palm Sunday
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever!
2 Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures for ever.”
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech you, O LORD!
O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!
26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
29 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Snow White wasn’t the first person to think…
“Some day my prince will come
Some day I’ll find my love
And how thrilling that moment will be
When the prince of my dreams comes to me”
Israel has been waiting – through centuries of poor kings, foreign conquerors, exile and destruction.
This is it. This is the moment when the Prince of Peace arrives…and the cheers rise up.
Palm Sunday – We’ve been doing it all wrong. Many came for the parade, but they missed the person.
- We Want to Sing Onward Christian Soldiers, But Ignore the Call to be Christian Servants.
- We Want the Parade, but not the Passion.
- We want victory, but we have no idea what it costs.
We hear this story every year – we know how this week is going to go for Jesus – triumphal entry – temple visit – last meal with his disciples – betrayal, arrest, conviction and crucifixion. Pay attention…look for something new, different, and unique…it’s right in front of us.
1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Resistance – we are wrapping up our Lenten sermon series today – temptation, rebirth, restoration…and so on…and so, we come to the triumphal entry – where is the resistance here? I’m going to focus on one word, humble. Your king is coming in victory, but he is humbly riding a donkey…
We don’t talk much about humility in the church, but it is an essential element of our faith.
“If you should ask me what are the ways of God, I would tell you that the first is humility, the second is humility, and the third is humility. Not that there are no other precepts to give, but if humility does not precede all that we do, our efforts our meaningless.” – St. Augustine
“It ain’t bragging if you can do it.” – Dizzy Dean
Christians are experts on:
- The Humble Brag
- Self-Deprecating Humor – but still filled with hubris…
- False Humility
- Uses religious jargon to justify cruel or questionable behavior…or to rationalize indifference…
- Passive Aggressive Braggadocio
- It’s hard to be humble…when…
- Christians aren’t perfect…just forgiven..
- Humility is like underwear; essential, but indecent if it shows. ~ Helen Nielsen
Open the Gates…Let Jesus In.
Open our Hearts…Break them, if you must.
I turned the news on this morning and learned about the horrors in Egypt – bombings on Palm Sunday – many killed – and I found myself filled with a mix of shock, horror, and (if I am being honest) anger. Humility resists the impulse to strike back.
Imitating Christ’s Humility
2If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
It certainly wasn’t the biggest parade ever, but it is the most important. It is not for the traditional conquering hero – but for something better – Not the “law and order” candidate, but the “grace and mercy” messiah.
We resist the world of conspicuous consumption. We resist the military and political philosophy that, “might makes right.” We resist the gilded glow of towers and the false God of earthly power.
We resist with our humility…and as we do, we will rediscover our humanity.
The masses wanted a savior. Things haven’t really changed with time. We want
There will never be a savior on Capitol Hill… that spot was filled 2,000 years ago as the savior of the world carried
Do they get it? Do we? Really?
- The crowd (Jesus followers)
- The city (curious, befuddled, confused, tumultuous.)
The arrogance of certainty…and humility… careful… don’t leave room for the evil….
Palm Sunday is a parade procession to a cross – no one (except Jesus) knows this yet…Jesus has done his part – invitation to follow. Christ showed the better way – through the open gates and the cheering crowds AND on the path to Calvary – among the closed minds and the jeering city…
Humble he came…
Humble we go.