Today’s Gospel reading is from Matthew 21: 1-11 and the OT readings is from Isaiah 50: 4-9.
Perhaps if you read those, you will be prepared for the lessons I learned from the service, particularly the readings and the sermon.
The Gospel reading is one we are all familiar with but there’s one reference I find very puzzling. There is reference to a donkey and a colt. Both are covered so Jesus can ride on them. That wouldn’t be an error but I have no idea what the significance is. Perhaps it’s just not the most despised of creatures but also the lesser colt who are both acceptable to carry the Sovereign King referred to in Isaiah.
In any case we are also familiar with one of the ideas circulating throughout the world of Jesus at that time: that an earthly warrior king would come to release the Jews from the latest of their overbearing rulers from an outside force. The Jews had been overrun by one outside force after another throughout history and longed for the King who would release them in a final victory.
We have been doing this throughout our own short history. If we vote for this party or that party, the country will prosper. It won’t and it will never do so, while our yardstick is an earthly one.
Jesus rode in on a donkey to show His Kingdom was not the one which was expected. His Kingdom is of the Spirit.
As Rev. John says, a political victory was never on a Jesus’ radar. He came to free us from ourselves. He came to raise us out of all those things that mire us down in ways of the rest of the world. The nasty stuff like greed. Greed covers so much, because we can be greedy for so many things.
Isaiah may have been overstating his case but he was on the right track when he claimed obedience to the Sovereign Lord. Short of being obedient to the Lord’s command we fail everything.
And we can remember Jesus’ teaching which tells us that we can call on help to obey the Sovereign Lord. The Spirit has been given to us to guide us so that we can think straight and the Spirit can give us the strength we need to be better than we could ever be on our own.
And for those who think God can’t possibly be calling them to build the Kingdom. Remember the donkey and the colt. Remember the humble fishermen. Remember the Woman at the Well.
Take God’s outstretched hand, which is inviting you, first to be raised up from the things that weigh you down and then for you to reach out to others, demonstrating that freedom and wealth are matters of the spirit, not of any material sort.