We all fall into that trap don't we - of wanting people to like us - even when it may not be truly "us" they are liking. Sometimes this people pleasing is revealed as saying what we know others want to hear instead of what is the honest truth. Sometimes it is revealed as going above and beyond, not for the love of the task, but for the desire for recognition. Sometimes it is looking the part with the right brand of clothes or hanging out with those who are the most well liked.
This Sunday morning we will celebrate Palm Sunday, the beginning of the holiest week of the year. On Palm Sunday, Jesus enters Jerusalem, where those who have walked the 100 mile journey from Galilee into Jerusalem, lay down their cloaks as he rides in on a foal of a donkey. Those people celebrate the fulfillment Jesus makes of Zachariah's prophesy and cry out to him as the savior of the world - Hosanna- save us. Some believe he is a prophet, others believe he is the Messiah, all believe he is somehow from God.
One the other side of Jerusalem that day there is another parade. One in which Pilate, the Roman governor, rides on a chariot, accompanied by hundreds of calvary. In a bold move of power on the week in which Jerusalem is packed with pilgrims for Passover, he makes a statement of not only imperial power, but imperial theology. He affirms what they call him - the 'Son of God' - because he believed to be an heir from the god Appollo, and is also called 'lord' and 'savior," by the populous.
You know how the week after these two parades turn out. It's a bit of a popularity contest. Those in power in the kingdom of Rome are threatened by Jesus message of the kingdom of God. There are supporters on each side, both wanting to be part of the popular vote. And how interesting it is that some of Jesus' most devoted followers and friends, will deny him, out of fear of the power of the populous.
How we allow our fear to rule who we follow is the question for us this Holy Week. Understanding truly who we are, as children of God, is the identity that must rule our every decision. For we are all faced with that question at some point or other of who we believe Jesus is. What will your answer be: what is popular, or what is faithful?
Let's take the journey together this week,