Monday, March 10, 2008

Matthew 21:1-11

Lent 6 – Palm Sunday – Year A

Matthew 21:1-11

No matter how you try to mitigate it (donkey riding and Sir Walter Raleigh coat etiquette) prophets are wild-eyed idealists who challenge current offices, who, if unchecked, would lead to the dissolution of whatever political structures are currently in place.

Had it been in today's world with a prophet riding into town on an energy-efficient green bicycle and folks using quickly renewable switch-grass to smooth his way over a pot-holed infrastructure, there would still be those who were unnerved knowing an ever-so-polite gauntlet was being thrown down, a feared double-edged sword that would cut to the quick had arrived to force a conscious choice of what was going to constitute an authentic community. A populist "Hooray!" can quickly turn to a resigned, "You can't fight city hall."

While a prophet can push for a choice, they can't make it for folks. By definition a prophet never comes around until it is seemingly too late to have a community conversation about where we would like to be beyond where we are. By the time a prophet arrives, even a gentle, peacefully symbolized one, is a still, small point around which power roils and rolls heads.

While we would imagine ourselves on the right side of the past, a quick look at statistics tells us that more folks opt out of elections, than participate. And not even all those who participate really know the issues or consider anything beyond the latest friend/family decision or negative ad.

Did you recognize yourself joining the "whole city" in asking, "Who is this?"

If you did, is there anyway for you to make sense of the response of "a prophet"?

My hope is that more folks would clarify what it means to be a prophet in their setting and would then choose to come as close to that as they can.

[Note: we are following the slow path for the lectionary choices – Palm Sunday rather than Passion Sunday. This honors the decision of the many to further avoid the midweek observances of the deepening of death with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. If we can see beyond the surface of this celebration, some might be intrigued and challenged enough to test the next stages of this journey, but pushing the Passion too quickly only inoculates folks against having to face the reality of death.]

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