March 24, 2013 Palm Sunday
“Ride on, King Jesus!”\
By Bill Cotton email@example.com
What can we make of his day? We will have palm branches to wave. We will sing “all glory laud and honor” and little children will hear the stories of Jesus. It’s a strange day, a prelude to things to come. My old teacher Fred Gealy said it best: “Although Jesus appears to be thwarted, rejected and defeated, he walks like a conqueror. He bears none of the gorgeous trappings of a king—only rags of royalty and a crown of thorns—yet everyone who reads the gospels knows that he is a king. Thus his entry into Jerusalem is indeed a triumphal entry. And somehow what he did and said 1900 years ago—offers blueprint for each of us to follow.”
Paul Tillich taught that there is an element or potential for greatness in every person. The goal for humanity, common folk, and public figures is to seek their greatness-- not in the sense of boasting or looking for some religious pay off. One does not set out to become a great person. One simply develops a life of integrity---striving to do the right thing, have the right kind of relationships, regardless of the personal risk or cost. Tillich also speaks of the cost, reminding us that those who follow the path to greatness—who strive to do the right thing-- find themselves paying a great and sometimes ultimate price. One only has to look at our national heroes, who led without thought of cost, to understand what Tillich meant. These people endured pain, criticism, abuse, and often paid the ultimate price.
But faithful people nonetheless must seek to do the right and just thing regardless of the cost.
Persons who refuse to follow the path to greatness -- those who take no chances, color within the lines, give in and give-up -- settle for a life of smallness, and fall beneath tragedy. These days when public cynicism rules the day, the palm branch reminds us that there will be a triumphal entry only when each of us faces with integrity what is required of us.
Now all of this is a bit heavy—What I am getting at can be summed up in the wisdom of Hattie Woeste, a kind lady who watched our children. She said, “I always tell the truth and then I don’t have to remember what I said.” And telling the truth means living the truth – integrity!
Let us break Bread Together, Abingdon Press. Nashville, p. 56.
Tillich, Paul, Systematic Theology, Vol. III, p.92-93, University of Chicago Press, 1964; 51-2235