Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Shepherd

Psalm 23, page 240 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long. Sermon The Lord is my Shepherd. Whether it’s sung by the choir, read in the pew Bible, or spoken aloud at a funeral, the words are as powerful as any in the history of human language. These words are the foundation of faith for so many. I imagine that Psalm 23 is one of the most frequently memorized passages in all of scripture, because these few verses have the power to bring comfort in death, encourage perseverance during hardship, and they sum up the most central truth of our faith – that ours is a religion that promises not only green pastures and still – but, when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death Christ is there with you. He told us he would be. In our first scripture lesson he tells us that he is the Good Shepherd, but its one thing for Christ to tell you that he is yours and it’s another thing for you to say that he is mine. It’s the same with a child – you know that you are his mother, but its one thing for you to tell everyone that you are and it’s another thing for him to introduce you saying, “She is mine – my mom.” I take pride knowing that two little girls will grow up saying that I am theirs just as they are mine, just as I am thankful when they say that this is their home, across the street is their school, we drove in their car to get here, to their church. To say that something is mine – my shepherd – means something powerful. There are nine children who come here every Tuesday afternoon for a program we call Time Sharers. They are tutored and fed by members of our church, and they don’t call this place First Presbyterian – instead little boys and girls who aren’t here any time besides Tuesday afternoon point to this place and say, “that’s my church,” and why wouldn’t they? Here they are loved, cared for, valued, and listened to. The men and women who pick them up from school, give them a snack, and help them with their homework want them to think of this place as theirs but doesn’t it mean something for them to say it. Of course, saying that this place is mine can be dangerous. That kind of ownership might make others feel excluded – to say that its mine may communicate to others that it can’t be theirs and jealousy can rise up. That happens. And it’s not too much farther down that road and one says to the other that “mine is better than yours.” I’m not above such feelings. Watson Pulliam will be putting up a new piece of playground equipment in our playground for his Eagle Scout Project, and I don’t really care what Susie Baxter picks out for Watson to install so long as it’s better than anything that the Methodists have. But I shouldn’t think that way. That way of thinking leads to competition and before too long it’s not who’s better and who’s best, instead people start thinking that there is really only one right and all the rest must be wrong. It’s not just that he is my shepherd. He is the only shepherd. People think that way, and I believe it’s a dangerous way to think. But it’s not just dangerous – it’s a big undertaking to convince everyone that there’s really only one option. I’ve seen cars driving around town with a license plate on the front – Vanderbilt on half, UT on the other, and the words “a house divided” underneath. This license plate proves that it is hard to get people to agree on one anything – one college sports team, one pizza topping, or one religion. To convince people that there’s only one religion seems to me a true challenge. Especially when you consider how mini vans all over Maury County can’t compromise on a college team to support. Still Muslims and Christians especially fight and kill in defense of what they believe is the truth. There must be another way. And there is. Though not completely satisfactory either, another option is to say that there are plenty of shepherds out there and one is just as good as any other. There’s plenty to like about that way of thinking – there’s no reason to get upset then about that Mosque in Murfreesboro. No reason to worry about evolution being taught in science class – there is diversity of thinking in this country and diversity isn’t something to be afraid of. But then if everybody is right – who is wrong. And if I’m on everybody’s side, what do I really stand for? A good question for politicians who want to make everyone happy. Judge Soggy Sweat epitomized taking a stand by not taking a stand in his whiskey speech of 1952: “My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey. "If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it. "But; "If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it. "This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise." That was Judge Sweat, but what about you? Which way is yours? In our world today there are so many who fear differences in opinion as though me being right depended on you being wrong. Political discourse is not discourse if one side already thinks the other is without wisdom or merit, and how can there really be friendship if one thinks the other is so wrong as to deserve the fires of hell? It is instead our duty to be comfortable in disagreement. Life in a world that disagrees is nothing new, especially for Christians. Why then would we be afraid, and why would we oppress those who disagree when we ourselves know exactly what it feels like to be discriminated against? I tell you today that nothing matters more than your convictions – not the convictions of the majority or the minority – but that you yourself know what you believe and can hold that belief strongly enough that you are not afraid when others disagree with you. What matters today is that you know who your shepherd is. Who leads you to the green pastures and beside the still waters – the one who keeps you, provides for you, and watches over you while you sleep. What matters today is that you know what he did for you – that rather than avoid suffering he faced it head on that you might never be afraid thinking that hardship is God’s punishment or that because you suffer you must have done something to deserve the wrath of God – remember that he, though sinless went to the cross with all its pain. What matters today is that you know that when you walk though the valley of the shadow of death – when you suffer hunger down deep but the cupboard is bare, that when you have bills to pay and have no way to pay them, that when your shoes are worn out and your feet are sore but you still have miles to go – you need not be afraid, for he is with you. There is room for tolerance. There is room for disagreement, compromise, and understanding. But when it comes to who will walk through the darkest valley with you there must be something sure and certain. So hear me say this and be so bold to say the same: I am his, he is mine. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


John 20: 19-31, page 115
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them.
Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Here we have the story of Thomas, or Doubting Thomas as he’s been labeled because of this event. And that’s a hard label to live with, but I think labels like that can be good or bad.
I was listening to a radio show called This American Life a couple months ago, which got me thinking about ways that labels – especially labels like “autistic,” a label the King’s Daughter’s School is currently raising awareness about – can be good or bad.
This American Life is a radio show that lasts about an hour and tells three or four different stories, nothing spectacular, just a story about people, all relating to a similar topic: there was a valentines episode, an episode on the financial crisis in Greece, and this one, an episode on people who were willing to make big changes to their lives in order to survive.
The second story in episode 458 began by describing the relationship of a woman named Kristen with her husband. Kristen, who worked as a speech therapist at a school for kids who had been diagnosed with things like autism or Asperger Syndrome, and her husband had been going through a rough patch and Kristen often wondered why.
The thing about working with people who are labeled by their disorders, especially disorders that because of a lack of awareness often go undiagnosed, is that the women who Kristen worked with would often wonder if people outside the school suffered from autism or Aspergers: the clerk who ignored them, the emotionally distant boss who never seemed to understand, and of course, considering the symptoms of Aspergers, emotional distance, inflexibility, missing social clues, and weak listening skills, every woman who Kristen worked with wondered if their husband suffered from Aspergers as well.
Now the seriousness of Aspergers cannot be understated. As I said before, this is Autism awareness month, and people who are challenged by autism or aspergers certainly have a true challenge, but people who are diagnosed or labeled as having autism or aspergers can receive help, unlike those who are challenged by the symptoms but don’t know why.
As it turned out, Kristen’s husband had aspergers.
And when her husband David heard the news about himself he was amazed. He described that moment of diagnosis this way: “It was such a huge moment, a sublime moment. It's a weird way to say it, but I almost felt as though I was present at my own birth, if that's it, if that's a decent way of saying that. I mean, it was as if somebody finally handed me a user manual for myself. You know, here's how you operate, and if you read this manual, everything that was difficult in life before is going to be a lot easier now, because it makes sense and you can learn how to control certain things.”
From that moment of diagnosis things really did start to improve. David started to change his behavior: he made himself stop changing the station on the car radio if his wife was listening to something, he stopped rushing her through everything, he made himself be more flexible about their schedule, he taught himself to fold everything in the dryer instead of just taking out what he needed, and he forced himself to listen. Also because of his diagnosis, just the label “Aspergers,” his wife Kristen became much more compassionate as she understood that all these things he had been doing that drove her crazy weren’t his fault.
It’s just a word, just a label, and labels can certainly be bad – calling someone doubting Thomas isn’t a compliment, but there’s no doubt that a label can also be good.
So he says to the Disciples, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
It takes a lot to come out and say something like that. You have to be honest about yourself and your own limitations. You also have to be honest with others; Thomas has to be honest about the fact that he doubts the testimony of his friends who told him, “We have seen the Lord.”
I’m sure they would have preferred their friend to be Normal Thomas, or Go With the Flow Thomas, or I’ll Pretend To Take Your Word For It Even Though I Don’t Really Believe You Thomas – anything besides Doubting Thomas, but Doubting Thomas was who he was and can you really fault a guy for being honest about himself?
Coming to terms with his problem, Thomas is able to do something about it, and that's different from any of the other disciples for every single one of them was stuck behind a locked door, every single one of them, even after Jesus came to see them and sent them out into the world saying, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” didn’t go out but remained in that room not doing anything to further the mission of Jesus Christ.
Compared to doing nothing, compared to Lazy Andrew, Slow to Respond James, and Failure to Launch John, Doubting Thomas is really ahead of the game coming to terms with what stands in his way, being honest about what is preventing him from doing the work that Christ set him to.
It’s in facing such obstructions that we see bravery, and bravery was in short supply among those disciples. Every single one of them locked behind that closed door for fear of the Jews – all except Thomas who was out doing who knows what the first time Jesus came.
Petrified Thaddeus, Simon the Fearful, and Scared James, all behind locked doors when Jesus first arrives, and even when Christ comes the second time they are still in that same room, their fear stopping them from doing anything at all.
Christ comes that second time, and knowing the heart of Thomas, knowing his doubts before he even gave voice to them, says, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas responds, “My Lord and my God.”
Someone very wise told me once that death isn’t nearly so terrifying if you’re willing to look it in the eye. But how many are so willing to look in the eye such sensitive realities? How many are willing to come to terms with what will happen to them? With who they are, mortal, fragile, and struggling?
How many are willing to be honest about their reality?
How many are willing to label what stands in their way – what they can’t leave behind by themselves?
Thomas was – and so he will forever be labeled the Doubter by his own bold honesty. As for the rest – Bartholomew had his reservations but he kept them to himself. Levi knew he wasn’t leaving that room but he couldn’t tell you why – like so many he was unwilling to peer too deeply into the reality of who he was. And Peter – he knew who he was. He couldn’t escape it. But Peter who betrayed Christ three times before the cock crowed just as Jesus said he would was too ashamed, much too ashamed to take even the first step towards believing in himself again. Broken, Devastated, Self hating Peter was not able to look Christ in the eye when he came to the Disciples. Unlike Thomas, he wasn’t able to believe that being honest about his frailty was what Christ really wanted, even after Christ invites Thomas to do exactly what he needed to do to be made whole again.
Thomas says to these disciples, “Unless. Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe,” and we stand back and judge him but how much farther along is he than any other disciple for coming to terms with what keeps him from doing the work Christ has called him to do.
And Christ knows about you. Christ knows that the only difference between you and Thomas is not your doubt, your fear or your shame, but whether or not you're willing to come to terms with the realities that stop you from moving on with your life. Whether or not you’re willing to trust Christ with who you are, what you’ve done, and what you struggle with. Whether or not you’re willing to give voice to what you wish you weren’t.
Will you speak your shame?
Is it over doubt; is it over fear; is it the inability to forgive; is it anger? Whatever it is it need only stand in your way as long as you keep it inside rather than lay it at the feet of the one who can do something about it – who can love you in spite of it.
For Christ comes to Thomas and says, “See and believe,” but first it took Thomas being honest about his doubts that stood in the way.
There is no shame in doubting. But for those who doubt without doing anything about it, how can there ever be freedom?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Do not hold on to me

John 20: 11-18, page 114
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”
When she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (Which means teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
I think I know why Jesus says to Mary, “don't hold on to me”; and I think I also know why it's so hard for Mary to let go.
Often, I still want to hold onto the things that truly matter longer than they want to be held, even though I know letting go is a reality of life.
A friend told me to always let my daughters sit in my lap because there's no way to know when it’s the last time you’ll get to hold them there, so small and so close.
Ever since she said that I've feared the moment: the last time Lily needs me to hold her hand across the street, the last time my arms can comfort her, the last time I can hold Cece and rock her back and forth watching her fall asleep.
I know why they won't let me hold on to them anymore, but I'll still want to hold them longer.
Mary, his mother, knew that feeling. Her little baby was like ours, not ever really hers to hold, just hers to hold for a little while. So clearly a gift from God, he came into her life helpless but walked out of it to fulfill his destiny taking her heart with him. He was heading towards becoming what the angel told her he would: the savior of our world. She knew that she had to let him go, but she must have wanted to keep him home just a little while longer.
After all, the world is full of challenges that we wish the ones we love didn't have to face. Hearts get broken, dreams get stifled, and sometimes the only weapon at our disposal is to watch and worry.
Parents are thankful, then, for friends, and Simon Peter was right there with him, and willing to stand up to him, especially when he told them all that death on a cross awaited, unavoidable and cruel.
Christ’s steely resolve silenced him, though all Peter wanted was to keep his friend with him a little while longer, to protect him from the pain that lay ahead, but Peter had to let him go.
That's how it is with the ones you love. Sometimes the patient can resign himself to it, while his family is sure it can't be true and goes looking for a second opinion. The soldier has to go while the children hold on as long as they can thinking up schemes to get around somehow what must happen next. So also, the sentence comes from the judge, the guilty hangs his head while his loved ones fight off reality as though there were anything they could do. When they came for him with their chains it was Peter who attacked them and one soldier lost an ear. There was nothing left to do, he couldn't hold him any longer, but you know why he did it.
To hold on just a little while longer, even though sometimes there's just nothing left to do.
Husbands and wives holding hands; one talks not knowing if the other can listen. Still they hold on even while cold sneaks in. When silence finally triumphs life comes to an end, and suddenly the one they loved is no longer there. You know why they have gone on, but you also know why the ones they leave behind want to hold on to that hand just a little while longer.
So Mary goes back to the tomb. The memory of him was just as hard to let go of as anything else. The memory of a man who saw her as a person and as an equal in a world of power and hierarchy and invisibility. The memory of a man who loved her – you know how hard that is to say goodbye to. That’s why she needed to see the tomb closed, she needed to see that it was over. All her hopes, all her love, the door closed to what could have been and what she hoped there would be, but then the tomb is there - open.
She goes to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. They run to see, but seeing nothing besides an empty tomb return home.
Do you know why they go home again, ready to move on? Maybe you also know why Mary stood weeping at the tomb, not ready yet to move on and not understanding how anyone could just move on from what mattered more than anything else ever had.
Grief is like that. It’s different for everyone. Some move on quickly, some move too quickly to ever do anything besides push down their grief and carry it around, while others can’t seem to move their feet away from what was – immobilized for fear that it’s not death that makes death real but moving on.
Right there they stay, knowing simultaneously that nothing will bring him back and that if they just stay a little while longer the end might not really be the end.
In between the future and the past she stood, possibly the most painful place of all, and she bent over to look into the tomb once again.
What did she expect to see? Maybe you know.
And there he is. You know how she wanted so badly to see him and why she couldn’t recognize him at the same time. She knew it was impossible, but people who know what love is never stop hoping for the impossible.
It wasn’t until he said her name: "Mary."
It's one word but it's everything, too, because it slung wide that door that she had tried so hard to close.
For us, it’s exactly what we hope will happen. Death, not really final. The past not really over. Mistakes that we can take back. The end not really the end.
It happened to her and she held him close knowing that there are some things in life so good that they so truly never come to an end.
But you can't hold on to me, he said.
And you know why.
He goes on before us making a way for us to pass on from this life into life eternal. He makes a place for us there with the Father.
But you know why she could not let him go.
How can you let go of what was, what is, and put all your faith in what will be?
How could she let go when without some idea of what would happen next?
How could she let him go when she knew that this time she had a choice?
We still want to hold onto things longer than they need to be held, but she let him go, and where he goes you are sure to follow.

Monday, April 2, 2012

He Rode On

John 12: 12-19, page 106
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord – the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify.
It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him.
The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”
Sometimes it’s good to keep in mind how things are probably going to turn out.
I think it was Albert Einstein who gave us a good, working definition of insanity: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”
The insane, then, on Mule Day, might be those who are, year after year, surprised that they have a difficult time traveling from one side of Columbia to the other. You saw these people yesterday: “What are all these mules doing here? Oh yeah. That’s today.”
The insane continue eating at McDonalds five times a week and wonder why they keep gaining weight.
And the insane, according to Albert Einstein, will keep on procrastinating and refusing to study and will be surprised by their failing grades.
Wisdom on the other hand, tells us to change our behavior. To keep in mind how things are probably going to turn out, and to change our behavior in order to avoid it.
But then, to some people, knowing how things are probably going to turn out doesn’t inspire any change in behavior, because what you or I might want to avoid, they have resigned themselves to.
I worked for a lawn maintenance company the year in between college and seminary. This was also the first year of our marriage, so while this job wasn’t the best, I was desperate. Being desperate isn’t a good quality to have when you are looking for work, and so I worked with other desperate people who would do just about anything for $7.00 an hour: illegal immigrants, high school drop outs, convicted felons, etc.
I was assigned to Lee’s truck, and Lee was a different kind of a guy.
He went to the Citadel, and if you’ve heard of the Citadel, either because you know Charleston, South Carolina or you read Pat Conroy’s book, the Lord’s of Discipline, the Citadel is a military college and well known as a tough place to go to school. The hazing of first year students is expected if not encouraged. I had cousins who went there and would show up with burns from where some upperclassmen had put out a cigarette on their arm and other such stories that convinced me I’d rather go anywhere than the Citadel. For those who graduate, however, the abuse is worth it as graduates generally go on to good strong careers. I wonder if Lee knew then that he would be working the rest of his life cutting grass and earning $7.00 an hour with no health care. If so, would he have changed anything? Would he still have endured the hardship of the Citadel for those four years? Probably not, and that was Lee. Lee’s logic was different.
He lived in a hotel, paying more than twice what Sara and I did in rent, but Lee didn’t move because as long as he lived in the hotel there would be someone to change his sheets.
He also told me once, “Joe, there’s no point in brushing your teeth. You’re going to lose them all anyway.”
That’s interesting logic, and it’s not quite insanity according to Einstein’s definition. Lee wasn’t doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results, Lee was clearly embracing his results and resigning himself, if prematurely, to the reality that he couldn’t do anything to avoid them.
Of course, I decided he was crazy and went on brushing my teeth. Even if Lee is right, even if I am going to lose all my teeth eventually, for now I’ll keep on going through the motions.
That’s not so strange. Going through the motions sometimes is just what we have to do.
No one stands up at a wedding reception to toast the bride and groom, even if they know it will never work, saying, “Why did you go through with all this, you’re probably going to get divorced anyway?”
No one, even if they too believe that we’re destroying the earth, stops to listen to the street side preacher who says that the world is coming to an end.
And no one wants to sit next to the person during the Mule Day parade who says things like, “it’s just a bunch of people riding through town on Mules – just like it is every year!” Everyone in Columbia is either going to leave town or enjoy it and that’s all there is to it.
Knowing how things are going to end doesn’t necessarily change what we do, doesn’t always stop people from going ahead with what they were planning on. But surely, knowing how things are going to turn out does dampen the mood, does affect your ability to enjoy the party, does make you ask yourself philosophical questions about historic traditions while the parade goes by.
In our scripture lesson for today Jesus paraded into Jerusalem – the crowds surrounding him, singing and laying down the branches of palm trees to carpet the road beneath his donkey’s steps.
The Pharisees were so amazed by this procession and the people’s devotion that they basically gave up their plotting against him: “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”
But what about Jesus – his feet still perfumed by the oil Mary poured out for his burial?
Having already told the disciples that his path leads to death, I wonder how the crowd’s cheers sounded. Knowing that soon enough he would be dragging a cross through those same streets, I wonder how he felt. Every step of the donkey bringing him closer and closer to a cruel end, was he tempted to change his behavior in order to avoid the result of this actions?
The donkey carried him on, and Jesus rode knowing exactly what lay ahead.
And isn’t that what love is? Isn’t that what it means to live?
Offering your heart to people who may very well reject it.
Giving your life to children who will grow up – possibly to move away, make decisions you don’t agree with, making mistakes you could help them avoid.
Living your life, not afraid, but as one ready to face whatever lies ahead.
He did this for you – knowing full well where he was going.
He rode that donkey to his death – to teach you how to live.
He went on loving those crowds, knowing that soon enough their shouts of Hosanna would turn to shouts of “crucify him” and still he rode on.
For you, he did this. For you he rode on.
Thanks be to God.