April 4, 2004
After saying these things ["Risk your life....], Jesus headed straight up to Jerusalem. When he got near Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: "Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you'll find a colt tethered, one that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says anything, asks, 'What are you doing?' say, 'His Master needs him.'"
The two left and found it just as he said. As they were untying the colt, its owners said, " what are you doing untying the colt?"
They said, "His Master needs him."
They brought the colt to Jesus. Then, throwing their coats on its back, they helped Jesus get on. As he rode, the people gave him a grand welcome, throwing their coats on the street.
Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins it descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:
"Blessed is [the one] who comes,
the king in God's name!
All's well in heaven!
Glory in the high places!"
Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, "Teacher, get your disciples under control!"
But he said, "If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise."
<The Message >
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1. Control is a very high value in any society, be it religious or otherwise. Control cuts off the hands of musicians and then asks them to play. Control cuts off heads so differences can be excised and all be me. Control is neither patient nor kind. Control exercises its authority in any way it can, escalating whenever necessary.
2. It seems evident, from hindsight, that the disciples never were under control. Unless you posit absolute divinity or an invitation that cannot be refused, the disciples responded to a call and seemed to get the unintended meaning nearly every time.
It seems evident, from looking around today, that disciples (folks who understand themselves to be faithful Christians) are also not under control and seem to get the unintended meaning of a parable or law nearly every time.
3. So, are we to be quiet about our discipleship failures that some other vehicle might be raised up? Probably not. Whether we are expressing our thanksgiving in appropriate or inappropriate way (according to some outside viewer or person with a differing religious sensibility) I hope and pray the stones will sing on their own.
Now and then, may we learn our part to better harmonize.