Come With Me

Come with me for just a moment to the streets of the Khartoum in the country called the Sudan and listen with me to the people cry for freedom. Listen to cries of hunger and poverty. Listen to their expectations and their dreams. Listen to their suffering.

Come with me for just a moment to the streets of Bahrain and listen to their cries of protest against a government they think is unfair and oppressive. Watch with me as people lose both their lives and what little freedom they have. Listen to their expectations and their dreams. Listen to their cries for help.

Come with me for just a moment to the backroads to the countries where war and poverty overwhelm, where men and women, men and boys, from the back of pick-up trucks and on foot, attempt to gain their liberty from a dictator’s reign. Listen to their expectations and their dreams. Listen to their cries for freedom.

Come with me for just a moment to the city streets of the capitals of many of the states in our own country and watch hundreds and thousands of people, on both sides of many issues, cry for freedom and cry for justice.

Come with me for just a moment to the city streets of Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. Come with and listen to the cries of ‘Hosanna!’. Come and hear the people cry out to the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

Come with me to the political and religious struggle of that day and that time. Come with me and watch from a roof top the one they call Jesus, the one who had the right to be the “king of the Jews,” ride into Jerusalem on a donkey.

Not as an actor in a drama that would mean war, but symbolizing the peace represented by the animal that he rode. If he had come on white horse, it would have been an act of war. But riding the donkey he came in peace. He rode it once before in his mother’s womb.

Come with me to the table of an ordinary family on this first Palm Sunday. There is bread being broken and there is wine being drunk and as they talk around the table, lying on cushions on the floor, they ask the question over and over again: Who is this Jesus?

Some want him to be a king. But if he is a king as Herod is a king, why doesn’t he come with an army to overthrow Herod and the Romans? Some around the table are impatient they want a revolution now. They want lower taxes and they want the oppressive Roman soldiers under the hated Pilate gone from their town and their lives.

Come with me to yet another table with different people with a different perspective. Listen to them as they wonder allowed whether or not this Jesus is the Messiah. And if he is the Messiah what does that mean? What does it mean to have God present in the midst of their lives? If he is the Messiah as so many of his disciples contend then why doesn’t he just change everything? Why doesn’t this Jesus just turn the world upside down with some kind of divine power? And again as the conversation goes on and on, the question is asked again and again, Who is this Jesus?

Come with me for just one more time to the streets of Jerusalem. Come and watch and listen. Come hear the cries again of ‘Hosanna!’. Shouts of praise. Listen carefully now as the cries intensify. Listen to the shouts. ‘Hosanna!’, they cry.

Hosanna. It means literally “save us, help us, we pray.”

Watch the faces. They are flushed with excitement and written on each face in large emotional letters is the expectation that Jesus is going to change things. Things will not be the same with Jesus. Now here he comes. This Jesus who is going to change things. He comes riding a donkey. What? Do you see that? He’s riding a donkey. What’s with this guy? He should be on a horse. Where’s his army? What’s with this humility? We don’t want a servant. We want a king.

Come with me now and watch the disciples. They’re scared and excited all at the same time. Some of them are posturing for jobs in the new government. Some of them are trying to do some crowd control. Even though they have been with Jesus for years they are also asking the question: Who is he?

Come with me one last time. Come with me to another table and at the table are a young Jewish girl and a young Jewish boy. They have been to the parade. It’s over now and they are sitting by themselves. The young girl asks the boy, “Do you think he is a king or the Messiah?” The young boy pauses and says, “I don’t know.”

Then after a long pause, the young girl says, “I don’t know either. But I feel that he is trying to get us see ourselves as we really are. Children of God. Maybe that’s what all prophets do.”