Written by Kaji Douša
As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" - Matthew 20:29-31
I am not one for boring television. But I am a sucker for watching the Tour de France for hours at a time. The dynamics of power and movement as the parties (er, teams) put their leaders into position fascinates me. The leaders cannot make it without the strategic engagement of the peloton, or crowd, of riders.
Something in me does not trust a crowd. Just because a lot of folks huddle together does not make them right, safe or just. Breaking from the crowd happens with a great deal of risk.
The crowd following Jesus, like the peloton, was dramatic in number and unified in its wrongness. Two people that the peloton was never designed to carry tried to break through. The crowd tried to push them out, maintain their fragile version of a status quo.
But Jesus knew better. When the crowd "rebuked" the two and tried to shut them out, Jesus took over.
There may be a frenzy. It may pull a lot of your friends, coworkers or family in a particular direction that feels seductively familiar. Beware the peloton. Used to do anything but uplift, the force of the crowd is likely to leave way too many behind. Just because there is a lot of energy does not make it right. Just because the polls say one thing does not mean that even the crowd's best interests are represented.
Rather than trusting the crowd, trust in God, who would never leave anyone behind.
Where is Jesus, God? In the crowd? Or leading us through it? Help us to see where you would have us go and the partners you would have us take with us. Amen
Kaji Dousa is the Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.