As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Matthew 21:1-11

This isn’t the celebration we expected. If you asked me after Christmas what was planned for Palm Sunday I would have told you a children’s procession waiving palm branches, confirming our new group of members and a dinner following the service. All that seems very far away now as we stay in our homes and things are closed to prevent the spread of disease. I certainly didn’t intend to preach to an empty sanctuary for Palm Sunday and Easter!

Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem wasn’t what people expected either. Yes, they welcomed Him with glad shouts and pageantry, but the thought “where is the crown and sword and the armies that Messiah will lead to free us?” was in the back of their minds. Often our desires for a particular situation or solution is not what God has planned for us.

We need to accept God’s way and the leadership of love and peace Jesus brings us all. We must let go of our grasping for control of worldly things and focus on the eternal gift Jesus offers. Only then will be able to truly celebrate as the children of the King.

Loving Lord, we are guilty of wanting things our own way. Help us to see that the path You call us to follow is the only way to be saved. Amen.

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