March 29, 2012

March 29: Stepping out from the pack

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By Liz Core, a junior communication major from Pella, Iowa
SCRIPTURE: John 12:12-16 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.
DEVOTIONAL:

Today in my Restorative Justice class we were invited into an exercise in which a statement was said – “English should be the official language of the United States” for example – and were told to take a stand by walking to the side of the room labeled either “agree” or “disagree.” As the statements were read, we moved in a hesitant shuffle to our side of choice. As the period went on, we began to notice a trend that we all moved together between agreeing and disagreeing, and that it was at first difficult for us to truly break out from the pack and say, “You know, I think I actually disagree with this one.” I realize this partly comes with the territory of being with peers who share much in common. However, no matter what the similarities or differences between us, it was too easy to get caught up in the majority opinion.

Before Jesus rode the famous donkey through the streets of Jerusalem, he made quite a name for himself by raising his friend Lazarus from the dead and performing other miracles. By the time he walked through the city, people had heard of Jesus and were excited about his arrival and went out to praise him (John 12:18). Both the disciples and the Pharisees recognized that the people gathered only to catch a glimpse of this new celebrity. But, in a beautiful gesture, Jesus accepted the people’s praise despite their seemingly little knowledge of his message.

It is much easier to celebrate when others celebrate. It is easy to dance when others are dancing and to sing when others are singing. But, how often do we wave our palm branches, shout and sing “Hosanna!” when no one else is? Instead of relying on others to determine for us what we should think, believe or say, Jesus gives us the invitation to know for ourselves that he is King. And in doing so, to praise him freely even when you are the only one. And in turn, to seek answers in him when you are afraid. For, as Jesus told the crowd in Jerusalem “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion. Your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt” (John 12:15). Do not be afraid to worship, to speak up, to be divergent, to listen to the minority or to join the song with the masses. Jesus invites us to celebrate his message not by following people, but by following him.

SCRIPTURE: John 12:12-16 (NRSV)
12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: 15 “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.

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Comments (9)

  1. Great reflection on this Scripture. It does come down to following the King, even when it may go against majority choice. May we stay close to him, to know his heart and where he is going.

    Ruth March 29, 2012 |
  2. Thanks Liz for reminding us about the need to stand alone at times and also that we are human and cannot always take a stand. May our lenten journey sustain us throughout the year when we need to take a stand -even if we are not with the majority! Blessings to you!

    Vicky Kirkton March 29, 2012 |
  3. Very thought provoking….especially for this middle-of-the-road-fence-sitter. Thank you!

    Joanne March 29, 2012 |
  4. Liz, I really enjoyed your reflection. A wonderful piece to start my day. I especially liked your ending line: “Jesus invites us to celebrate his message not by following people, but by following him.” It takes great courage when following Christ means feeling like you’re standing as an outsider…but isn’t that the very person Christ was always reaching out to embrace?

    Patty March 29, 2012 |
  5. Thanks, Liz, for these great thoghts about being willing to be different from the masses; seeing God at work when others don’t, and even challenging the majority opinion at times. I am at a point in my life in which I am redefining for myself and my readers some of the essence of what true evangelical faith looks like. Some are surprised when I don’t move to one side of the room of the other on que; others are heartened by my moves. I need to keep following Jesus wherever he leads. Find my essays on http://www.MySteinbach.ca (Local Blogs).

    Jack Heppner March 29, 2012 |
  6. A very encouraging reminder to not be too timid about where we stand with the King. Thanks much. Wilma

    Wilma Shank March 29, 2012 |
  7. Dear Liz, Your insightful reflection gives me courage in my occasional isolation, when I have to recall that Jesus is with me and I am intent on his life and ministry.
    Paschal Joy.
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet March 30, 2012 |
  8. Wonderful Words….I shared this devotional with my Facebook Friends!!
    We must follow HIM…and not man.

    Kelvin Walker March 31, 2012 |
  9. Lord, please give us courage to follow You even when others aren’t. I have to join in with those who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem – Hosannah in the highest! Save us!

    Elizabeth S.O. April 4, 2012 |