Today's Reading: Mark 11, John 12
I have noticed something about myself. Sometimes, when singing national anthems or patriotic songs, I am so swept up in the music, the emotion, the tradition, the regal-ness of the moment, I miss the words I am singing. The words become a part of the rote ritual. Because of the swelling of the heart brought upon by the moment, I miss the meaning. I love the moment; I love the unity of the crowd, the vocal chorus of a thousand voices, the joy of being a part of the larger whole.
I wonder if this is how the woman or the man or the little child upon the shoulder of her father felt as they waved the palm flags over their heads and cried, "Hosanna!" Was it a sunny day? Was it a perfect day for the parade? Were they tired of the dullness of life and longing for a festival? Was someone selling olives and figs to raise money for the synagogue or local children's sports group? Were town musicians on hand to keep the crowd merry and entertained? Were young maids vying to be crowned "Palm Princess?"
Does anyone now or did anyone then see the sacrifice about to be made by the one at the very center of the street? Did they hear the prayer of their own word, "Hosanna!--save us, now!" Did anyone even have a clue as to their deep need and the great cost to meet that need?
Just as we see soldiers in dress uniform marching to the beat of the drum and the music of the band and think, "O how handsome! O how wonderful!" and do not consider toward what they are marching, I believe the crowd on that first Palm Sunday had no idea what was before the Man they were heralding.
Soon, the soldiers will load the boats or the planes and be taken into the fray of the battle. Soon, the Christ will load the cross and be the target of all of Satan's fury and fiery arrows.
We smile and cheer and sing our songs, and cannot imagine what lies ahead. We do not comprehend the cost of the requested salvation.