Palm Sunday is upon us. On the surface, it is about Jesus arriving into Jerusalem. A large group of people seem excited. The most recent demagogue has come to town. The populace loves “bigger than life characters” that can draw a crowd. These characters are typically critical, egotistical, bombastic and full of promises. They appeal to folks who want something new and different. Our president has most of the qualities of a demagogue.
In any case, Jesus arrives in the capital city of Jerusalem. Perhaps sensing their misguided and externalized expectations, he asks for a donkey to ride. He desperately wants people to put an end to grandiosity and showmanship. Stay humble. As the country singer Tim Mcgraw writes: “Always stay humble and kind.” It’s an invitation to BE YOU without drawing unnecessary attention to you.
The journey into the streets of the city continues. Jesus looks into the eyes of his followers. They seem to want more than he can deliver; or at least, they want something very different from what he is offering. He will not impeach the Emperor. He will only suggest that the Emperor has no clothes. He will not wipe out the old religion. He will only point to a religion that moves away from the prescriptive into the restorative.
Then a strange thing happens. He stops to look at them again. He is moved to tears. His heart is flooded with emotion. He speaks to the moment: “If only they knew what makes for peace.” If only they knew ....
We might say the same thing about ourselves and the world in which we live. We don’t know what makes for peace. So we buy weapons, and material things, and rail against the system. We don’t know the way to peace so we keep doing what we have always done. We are “doers” because we don’t understand the alternative.
Ride a donkey. Get on your knees and pray. Meditate. Listen differently. Aspire to be humble and kind. And most importantly, imagine a world where everyone’s deepest desire is for peace - the inner peace of trusting your heart, AND the peace of neighbors marked by empathy and generosity of spirit.
I want for peace - mine and yours.