Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ticker Tape and Palm Branches

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh returned to the US after being the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic. His ticker tape parade through the streets of New York was possibly the most impressive parade NYC had seen before. The Indianapolis Colts returned to Indianapolis after winning the Super Bowl in 2007 to a parade along the streets of Indianapolis. Braving bitter cold temps, the citizens of Indy lined the streets to cheer on the home team champs. The star of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is Santa Claus. St. Patty's Day parades are held all over the US and abroad. Folks line the red carpert prior to the Oscars and cheer for celebrities as the stars make their way into the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. People love a parade. And these days it seems heros are sports stars, rock stars, movie stars and millionaires. We fall very easily and early into hero worship. Ask a child these days who his or her hero is and undoubtedly the answer will be a sports star or a movie star.

 Easter week for many begins with songs about Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail.  The cadbury bunny trying to cluck like a chicken; marshmallow Peeps (which I happen to love) dot the shelves in  an array of shapes and colors. (I like the original yellow chicks).  New Easter dresses and Easter bonnets are purchased...
Irving Berlin wrote the holiday song Easter Parade in 1933...
A song immortalized in the movies Easter Parade & Holiday Inn

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade.

I have to admit I have sung this song a couple of times already this week.  But as Christians Holy Week begins with a different type of parade.

Ticker Tape Parade or Palm Branches...

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' "Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt? "They replied, "The Lord needs it." They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" ~ Luke:28-38

Palm branches and cloaks were strewn about the streets as Christ enters Jerusalem The crowds cheered! Jesus was their hero... their king! People had filled the hillsides to hear Jesus preach and now he was entering Jerusalem! They were "joyfully praising God in loud voices for a ll the miracles they had seen". (Luke 19:27) And we too celebrate that triumphal entry each year on Palm Sunday. Many times our church's processional is the Sunday School children waving palm branches as one of our male members, dressed as Jesus walks in their midst.  We don't sing "Easter Parade", we shout Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

But in AD 33, not everybody cheered. 'Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" (Luke 19:39)

Jesus' opponents jeered.

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. ~ Luke 22:1-2

Not only did they jeer, but as Luke 22: 1-2 tell us, his opponents conspired to bring down the King of the Jews.

Easter Parade?

As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. ~ Luke 23:26-27

The first Easter Parade does not sound like the Easter Parade in the song above.  The first Easter Parade was not filled with the bright colors of spring. The verses of Luke 23 tell us of a completely different parade.  A parade that is not filled with ticker tape, confetti, cloaks or palm branches. But a parade of blood, sweat, pain and suffering. A parade that many thought ended at Golgotha. The hero hanging on a cross. Cheers of praise did not ring up to Jesus' ears... insults were hurled as his mother and John wept. Jesus was not given a trophy or a medal, but a crown of thorns. Jesus was not given a green jacket (as in the Master Golf Tournament) for his accomplishments. He is stripped naked. Jesus was not given a pat on the back, but was whipped and flogged. No... Jesus' victory parade was far different than any celebration we could ever fathom. 

As I walk with Jesus this week... from Jerusalem, to Gesthemane, to the courts, to the cross... I cheer, I weep, I pray, I rejoice. His victory is my victory. His victory is our victory. In his death I live. In his death you live. His victory over death does not end in his death. His victory does not end... EVER! His victory is eternal!  Jesus is MY hero! 
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ~ John 3:17

Father God, I thank you for your son. I thank You that You loved us so much that you gave the ultimate sacrifice to save us from sin and death.  I thank you that your victory is ours to claim as well.  I pray this week that Jesus' sacrifice touches the hearts of those who do not know him...  Those lost sheep You are seeking accept you as their hero and savior.  I pray that those who already know Jesus, come to love him even more as they witness your great love for us displayed on the cross.  I thank you Lord for the words "It is finished".  I celebrate with all my Christian brothers and sisters YOUR VICTORY!  I celebrate the empty tomb!   I celebrate OUR VICTORY! Thank You Lord... from the depths of this sinful heart.  From the depths of this soul that loves you beyond measure... the tomb stands empty.  The Victory Parade goes on...You have Risen... Just as You said!  Amen


Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

Thank you for this post. I needed a good reminder of Easter and what it means for believers.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

On my way to pick up this kids this afternoon, I saw a house all decked out in Easter regalia. Bunnies, eggs, etc. Nestled within the decor was a small cross, barely visible because of the larger eggs that flanked it. Makes me very sad that we've completely missed the mark on the true meaning of Easter.

I also cannot abide human celebration in large forums (i.e. parades for anyone for any reason). It just makes my skin crawl. I've not always felt that way, but the closer I move to Christ, the less of the world I want.

Just want Jesus.

Blessed Easter walk to you and Jim. This is our hallmark moment!


Victoria said...

Such a good reminder! My 4 year old and I were talking about Jesus entering the city today and the palm branches and hosannas.

Come for coffee anytime! :)

Donna's Book Nook said...

I actually do love to see people (and kids especially) all dressed up on Easter. But I want to focus on the real meaning of Easter. I can never thank Him enough or show my gratitude enough. Hopefully He knows my heart.

btw, I love your background!

Paula said...

Nicely written. :)

Smelling Coffee said...

Beautiful post, Kristen! I have read it twice now, and have been blessed each time. :-)

I'm playing catch up on your blog. I love everything you share. Thank you for being a beautiful Light of the Lord's.

Love to you...

sanjeet said...

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Kim... and Her Coffee said...

Good Morning Kristen!!! How are you Friend???? I LOVE LOVE LOVE your new blog look. Love it. And this post? Very inspirational. Thank you for sharing it. I've loved catching up with your blog posts here. I hope you are doing great. Hugs to you, Kim