Monday, 14 April 2014

A different sort of Palm Sunday procession

Today on Palm Sunday many gathered in churches around the world and processed with palms to remember Jesus' entry in to Jerusalem. I didn't. I decided to walk to the junction of Commercial Road and Butchers Row, round the corner from where I live, to see the London Marathon runners go by. As daft as this might sound it really made me think about Jesus' coming into Jerusalem. 
There was something about shouting and cheering as the runners came past, being part of a crowd that had a life of it's own. Looking out at first for the elite runners, looking together for the helicopters and motorbikes that would herald their coming. We did not shout hosanna, but 'woo hooo' and 'go [insert name on t-shirt here]'. It was all good fun as the elite athletes of all abilities came past. But then came Mo. 

When the Men's Elite runners came up West India Dock road a huge ripple spread down the lines of spectators. The leading runners bounced past with a flutter of cheers, then came the rest of the leading pack, the flutter growing. Then as Olympic hero Mo Farah got nearer the flutter grew to a roar of 'Go Mo, Go Mo!'

While Mo and tiredly grinned and made his way towards the 21 mile mark, many gathered at that corner wandered away. I walked back home to see Mo finish on the telly, with a pot of tea. Seeing this proud Londoner come in 8th in his first ever Marathon with a time of 2 hours and 8 minutes was great. True he had hoped to be faster, but wow. In the interview moments after he crossed the line he was his typically chirpy self and although a bit disappointed stated that he could not have run his first marathon anywhere else and he'd be back!

Then came the commentary. 'Mo fails to win first marathon.' 'Mo fails to break British record.' 'Mo should stick to the track.' So quickly the euphoria  of the crowd faded as voice after voice came over the t.v. pointing out every error the athlete had made. 'He should have gone with the front back.' 'He messed up his drink stops.' 'He should have done an easier marathon first.'

An this is when my mind pulled me back to Palm Sunday. As Jesus entered Jerusalem the crowds yelled 'hosanna' and threw their coats down for his ass to walk on. I wonder how long it took for those cheering into Jerusalem to start critiquing Jesus. 'A donkey? A king should come on a horse.' 'Why's he come to Jerusalem? Shouldn't he have tried regaining in Galilee first.' 'He should stick with preaching in backwaters - he's not ready for the big time.'

We know that the same voices that shouted 'Hosanna' as Jesus came by, were among those that yelled 'Crucify' just five days later. Two crowds, two very different atmospheres. Voices excited and engaged by this unassuming king entering the city on a donkey are turned in five days to become angry and have dehumanised a man enough to call for his death.

No comments:

Post a Comment