"Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! . . . .' Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve." - Mark 11:9-11
Last October, our church fielded its own marching band for the Pride Parade. If you have never marched behind a band while waving to adoring crowds and proclaiming the good news of God's love, put it on your bucket list. The experience is not to be missed.
I think it must be something like what the disciples feel marching beside Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem. Adoration, admiration, attention. It's a feeling one could get swept up in.
But Jesus is savvier than that. He walks directly from the parade to the temple, where, the very next morning, he will start to upset people. He knows that by week's end the parade will give way to the mob.
It's a valuable spiritual lesson; to unhook ourselves from the twin masters of praise and criticism; to look for the divine light of guidance within us, rather than listen to the cheers and jeers of the crowds. It is wonderful to be valued, but if our value lies in the adoration of others, we will be crushed when the parade ends. Or worse, we will be afraid to do the unpopular work to which we are called the next morning.
So this week we practice marching in the parade, and then we head for the temple.
Guide and Guardian, grant me the faithfulness to follow your divine light wherever it may lead.
Vince Amlin is Associate Minister at the United Church of Gainesville, Gainesville, Florida.