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Thursday, April 28, 2011


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[April 28, 2011]   --"A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!’  When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’ "-Matthew 21: 8-11

There are some old Simon and Garfunkel lyrics which go something like this, "I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain.  And an island never cries."  The lyrics are intended to be ironic, I think, but they nonetheless capture a very human perspective.  I need to seem fine.  I need to seem like I have everything together; like I am a perfectly content autonomous being.  For some reason, many of us feel we need to act as though everything in our lives is just fine, even when it isn't.  And worst of all, we feel the need to act this way at church.  A few weeks ago we hosted the "Permission to Speak Freely Tour," and one of the leaders, Anne Jackson (whose book gave the tour its title) once asked those who read their blog to post things they couldn't talk about in church.  The list was long, and sad.  But clearly they had been taught the same thing most of us have.  We need to act like everything is fine.

And to those of us who feel this way, I have two words.  Stop it!  If everything is not fine, you don't have to plaster some sappy smile on your face, nor do you have to talk about the weather or current events, especially at church.  Do you know what the crowds were really saying to Jesus as he entered Jerusalem?  Save us, we pray!  That is the what Hosanna means.  And they knew they needed help.  They knew they were in a bad spot, and they thought this man could change things.  They were right, of course, just not in the way they thought.  We don't have to be rocks all the time.  Life can be a struggle and sometimes, heck a lot of the time, things aren't fine.  It's okay to say so, to others and to God.

Prayer:  Holy God, please help me.  I am struggling in my life right now, and I don't know what to do.  I need your guidance and support.  I need you to save me, and show me people in my life who can help me.  Save me, I pray, in Jesus' name.  Amen.

[Phillip Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]

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