Whose side are you on?
On Palm Sunday, we celebrated the procession of Jesus into Jerusalem. It is worth noting that there were in fact two processions on that first Palm Sunday. There was the procession of the peasant rabble from Galilee, following their rabbi to the Holy City along the east side of the Jordan. As they reached the city, the words of the prophet Zechariah were proclaimed, rejoicing at the coming of the king to Zion, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass. At the same time, there was another procession from the west to Jerusalem. This was Pilate and the Roman army coming from Caesarea to keep order in the city at the volatile time of Passover, which proclaimed and re-enacted the liberation of the Jews from bondage in Egypt. They worshipped and protected a different king, Caesar, standing alongside the Jewish collaborators in the corrupt Temple regime.
The question for us today is which procession do we support. That of the imperial power and subjugation, even to our own times? Or do we stand alongside a different king with a significantly different message, that of the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of peace and justice, not one of violence and control? Are we for the Caesars of this world, or do we rejoice with the humble king and the promise of a transformed world and life?
Canon David Jennings
Canon Theologian, Leicester Cathedral