This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday or what is also known as Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. I remarked to a friend that this is one of my favorite Sundays of the year for two reasons, the narrative drama and how Jesus calls us to follow him beyond our expectations of him. Jesus clearly disappointed the people in Jerusalem. They were expecting him to lead a revolt against Rome as their new king. His actions clearly stated that his kingdom does not work that way, and that he was going to go about it differently. This reminds me of a song lyric that says, “Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.” There are times when we walk happily along with Jesus, and times when we are clinging to him for every step.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of the reversal that leads to Good Friday, which makes Easter possible. Like we discovered in the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from death, some things need to die in order for them to be resurrected and restored. The same goes for our expectations. What I know about Jesus is that he seeks to lead us into alignment with him that we can then fully follow him wherever he may go. This doesn’t mean that we check our expectations in at the door, so to speak. Since our expectations are established through past experiences, they may not always serve us well as we make ourselves present to God in the now which leads into the future. With each new experience our expectations can continue to be reshaped, updated, or let go of completely in order to be restored, or we can find ourselves disappointed with God, because God didn’t meet our expectations. The choice is ours. Just as the nature of the kingdom of God is counterintuitive, so it is that we may experience a few surprises along the way as we follow Jesus. It is not to disappoint us but to teach us that the way of Jesus just may be different than we expect.
Grace and peace,