They've come to a mountainous ridge east of the city - made of chalky earth and flint. The ground is not useful for building and so it has become a burial ground – tombs and caves, surrounded by olive groves – they call it the Mount of Olives. Jesus' parade begins amidst graves and olives. Ancestors and history, generations of occupied Judeans and small green fruit, still growing on the vine, not ready to be picked but containing potential.
At the same time, the imperial guard has come in from their western coastal homes, traveling in their motorcade of armored SUV's. When they get to the edge of the city, the secret service will walk the perimeter while Pontius Pilate and his wife and perhaps others in his staff will get out of the cars. Dressed in their very best – the newest fashion designers having competed for Pontius Pilate's wife's wardrobe. They begin the walk into town.
The people have gathered to watch, to see. There are street vendors selling falafel and balloon animals for the children. Mothers and fathers are pointing for their children to see – look who has come to town. Who has come to town? Those who keep the peace... the power and control and government regulation has come to town. The folks whose role it is to serve and to protect. Who has come to town? Well, honestly if anyone is paying attention – if the media is choosing to call a spade a spade then who has come to town? the peacekeepers. After all with all of these Judeans coming to town to worship, we must be on our guard for an uprising. They might disturb the peace And so from the west we have a parade of peace keepers.
But back in the east – Jesus had instructed a friend to go get a colt and while they wait, the villagers begin to gather I imagine, as they always do when word of Jesus' presence gets out. Who knows, maybe a couple kids were playing in the cemetery and they notice Jesus. They go home and tell their mom. Next thing you know we've got crowd gathered. This crowd is unannounced and seemingly unplanned – there is no secret service to secure the parade route here. There are no falafel vendors. Instead there is a makeshift pageantry, with almost playfulness. Jesus on a colt. Or if we were to modernize it – perhaps someone finds Jesus a pickup. And one says, wait don't sit in the back – you'll get all dirty. Here, sit on my cloak. Oh, you can have mine too. Mine too. And the back of the pick up is lined with people's clothing, colorful and mismatched – certainly not from a famous designer. Can you see them smiling as they make up their own pomp and circumstance? Another friend grabs a palm branch from the side of the dusty road – begins to wave it. And the procession begins. Jesus riding in the back of a pick up and his friends traveling along its side or trailing behind.
The crowd has begun to grow organically and there are people lining the street laughing at what they know to be imitation – even poking fun - at the official parade on the other side of town. But here too we have mothers and fathers pointing for their children to see – look who has come to town. Who has come to town? Why it's the man who heals people, the teacher of the law who is not like the other teachers of the law. The crazy man named Jesus and his rogue followers.
Look at them, making a mock parade today. Have they no shame. “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ And Jesus' answer – surrounded by the mountainous region of chalk like rock and flint says, Come on now, even if these were silent, the stones would shout. 'Teacher, order them to stop. They're making a mockery of the government. They're drawing too much attention to the systems around us.
And there is a crowd – don't you see. We're drawing a crowd, Jesus. Tell them to stop. Surely, this will cause us harm. This kind of blatant commentary on our current circumstance. At this point, one of the pharisees has jumped into the back of the pickup with Jesus trying desperately to get him to listen to reason. 'Teacher – on the other side of town there are extra military forces gathered for this very purpose – they want to keep the peace during the festivities.
Jesus responds, "What peace? Where is this peace? You think there's peace amidst occupation? You think surrounded by Roman rule, we live in peace. Is this what you call peace? Please – tell me, where is there peace? On the other side of town, they come keeping peace but we come making peace. Look around – if we don't shout, the stones will shout for us." He points to the stones in the distance from the graves in the mount of olives. And the stones of the mountainous region. And the stones under their feet all the while the crowd is shouting, "save us!”
"There are some that come keeping the peace; we come making peace."
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