It is coming up on Holy Week.
Sunday will be Palm Sunday, the Sunday that Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. There will be Palm branches, and we will have a celebration and remember that there were crowds adoring him that day.
I have been going to church on Palm Sunday since I was a little girl, loving the Palm Branches and waving them, shouting Hosanna with everyone else, and hearing sermons that reminded me that the crowds were fickle on that day. Jesus was not popular for many days.
I have always imagined that there were great crowds on that day, following Jesus. But it was not until recently that I realized that there were really two parades in Jerusalem that day. One of them was the one that the scriptures recount, the one that we remember all these years later. The other one is not mentioned in the Bible, but it is just as real. Pontius Pilate would also have been entering Jerusalem that day.
There were probably crowds with him as well.
So really there were two processionals -- two parades -- into Jerusalem that day, representing two different kinds of power, and two different kinds of hope. I suspect, however, that even the people who were following Jesus and waving palm branches did not realize how different Jesus' kind of power really was.
But on that day there was a choice: which processional would you follow? Who would get you allegiance? Jesus, or Pilate?
It seems to me that the choice remains: what do we hope for? who do we follow? what processional are we in? which king is ours? Do we even recognize him?
He comes to us in the outcast, the stranger, the lonely.
It is coming up on Holy Week. The Palm Branches are ready to raise. The processional is ready to start. But I wonder who we think we are following, and where we think he is going.
"What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God."