“If These Were Silent”
Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29
Luke 19: 28-40
The most holy week in the life of our faith has begun. On this Sunday, we commemorate the life of Jesus, an all-inclusive ministry that led him back to Jerusalem and to this Passion moment. In a few short hours and days, a change will come over this city, the people, himself. Triumphal entry becomes martyrdom. Celebration gives way to condemnation. Coronation turns to crucifixion. It begins with the jubilant crowd, spreading their cloaks along the ground, taking palms from the trees, throwing flowers in front of his feet, signing praises to God with a loud voice, “hosanna,” “alleluia,” and “blessed is the king.”
Jesus does not ride in a chariot, mount a war horse or wield the armaments of war but comes subversively, on a young donkey. Thirty-three years earlier, the infant Jesus had travelled by donkey too, under the dark cover of night with Mary and Joseph, out of Jerusalem, and into the safety of Egypt. Time and again, there have been many who find in the person and presence of the Nazarene, in his passion for justice and opposition to injustice, a profound threat and challenge to the status quo. Down throughout the ages principalities and powers – Herodians, rulers, empires, governments, corporations, industries, economies, militaries, militias, professionals, religious leaders and more – have been faint with praise while fiercely condemning Jesus. Now as then, many who would seek to know him are scattered, disinherited and at a loss. If we who profess to believe are silent, in our complicity, the very stones will cry out…
Prayer: We are grateful for this season of Love when life has the last word, all fear retreats and hope is realized within us yet again. Grace after grace, blessing after blessing, may the fragmentation of our days be made verdant, just and whole, and filled with the newness and goodness of life everywhere. You are the hunger of our hearts, O God.
The Rev. Dr. Alton B. Pollard III is Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s tenth president. A scholar, author, consultant and speaker on the subject of African American and U.S. religion and culture, Pollard was previously dean of the School of Divinity and professor of religion and culture at Howard University in Washington, D.C.