Palm Sunday is a time of great celebration, at the first observance and also in 2013. The child who grew up to be God was recognized, after all those years, as the one who would save the Jews. Or, so many people thought. In a way, this was the biggest parade ever because it was propelled, not by a donkey, as some saw, but by the expectant hearts of those who believed what others thought impossible: The one who would save them was here at last.
The debate raging in Jerusalem that week continues to rage in Jerusalem and all the world’s capitols today. It also tugs at the hearts of all who are in pain. Pain of a beautiful past lost and the likelihood of a darker future, and no Savior in sight.
Here in Texas, we feel the stirring of spring and the new life we have longed for. We also feel the pain of dreams never realized, dreams that rode into our lives in a parade of hope……..A Savior is coming to alter our future for the better! If only we can find him.
Days later the hope of Palm Sunday was shattered by the execution of the child who grew up to be God. The Savior who was coming was now gone and the people who paraded so hopefully days earlier were locked in the darkness of a tomb with their pain.
We hear tell that Jesus will come again. However, The Christ never left. As promised, He has been right here with us all along, and in his own words, he will be here with us “until the end of the age”. The child Jesus who became God left his body with us on that Friday and used his much larger spiritual body to convince those who believed that he was still right here.
Today, like the participants in the first Palm Sunday, we seek to follow one or anyone who we think can save us from the pain and gloom many feel in sickness and loss and fear of the future.
We are told to work out our own salvation, in many cases with fear and trembling. But whenever God appeared to men in Bible times as an angel, the first word the angel always said was: “Fear Not”.
When we look outside ourselves for a Savior, only to discover he is not there, fear is an understandable reaction. The historic church used that fear to convince us we were sinners who should fear God. Jesus, The Christ, did not concur. In all the gospels, Jesus used “sin”, “sinner”, “sinning” only twenty-two times. Love, forgiveness, our being totally loved by our Creator-Father and our unconditional access to His power are much more common themes than sin. As classically defined, sin is simply missing the mark. Aiming for something and hitting something else.
There was a thief. Perhaps he deserved to die, but according to the Commandments we have received and say we follow, we are to kill no one….guilty or not. And at the last moment, when there were no options left, this thief chose to do something very simple. He changed his mind. Using that change of mind, from the deepest part of his heart, he asked the child who grew up to be God to remember him when he came into his kingdom. And the child who became God, who had always been in his Kingdom, spoke the sweetest words in the entire Bible: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
With God, there is no wait. Change happens at the speed of thought, (the New Scientists call it Superluminal Speed) which is much faster than the speed of light. The thief worked out his own salvation instantaneously by changing his mind and asking The Christ for it.
Doubt not this can happen to you, right now, today. By changing your mind you can experience the paradise that Jesus, The Christ, promised he came here to give you.