i’m not sure why, it probably has something to do with bread, but i was randomly wiki-ing passover from the jewish perspective (seeing how it is, well, a jewish holiday). interesting stuff – they have a little yeastbread hunt for the kiddos before passover begins and apparently it falls into spring cleaning. you can’t have even a bit of yeast substance in the house. there’s also the “4 questions” kids ask the adults at the meal so that the story of passover can be retold once again.
on a side note, some interpreters think a better interpretation of pesach would be “to hover over” as in protective sense. i can dig that.
but here’s my quandry. a big deal part of the passover is that you recline to your left during the meal. it’s quite mandatory (and it seems there’s quite the discussion as to if a woman should recline or not), even for kids to recline. so i thought to myself, “what’s going on here?”. more wiki. a little google. it seems that reclining at the table was something kings, or people of importance, did during the meal. servants would never recline. i picture in my mind someone lounging about, having grapes fed to them. and so, as a way of helping the hebrew people remember that they were delivered from a land of slavery into freedom, they would recline like kings at the table.
as i read about this, the verse immediately came to mind that jesus was reclining at the table with his disciples during the passover feast. he was apparently doing what a good jewish boy should do for passover.
but there’s some sort of delicious irony in the fact that jesus really WAS a king, lounging with a bunch of don’t-quite-get-it followers for passover. like he “let” them lounge with him and enjoy his status – not that jesus was a status seeker.
i can’t quite put my finger on it… but something speaks. something fits.
i think that’s probably the excuse of the roman soldiers who arrested and subsequently crucified Jesus. that’s what they do. everyone knows that a soldier of the world’s superpower has to do a few dirty jobs, and crucifixion is part of the deal. but i just have to wonder if they knew… i believe that one gospel puts it that after Christ’s death one remarked “surely this man was the son of God.” but it was his hands that held him to the cross…
we’re probably not all the different. how many times do we do things that would shame jesus because “that’s my job”?… ethics comes to mind, but probably even more prevalent is the habit of overworking. feeling as if the business will collapse if i don’t put in 60 hours this week. without blabbering on and on in explanation, that’s just a socially acceptable way of making yourself god. the idea that nothing will go right without you… what a way of replacing your need for God.
where the roman soldier got it wrong was that it was just his job. he was first and foremost a child of God, employed by the state of rome. we do the same thing. we are not what we do. but in a society such as that which we live, we begin to believe that it’s true.
last year i helped my mother-in-law plan a prayer walk for maundy thursday that was jesus’ last week, but through the eyes of different people who were there. I really enjoyed creating the entire event, and this morning at church some of it started to come back to me… but this time instead of thinking “how will this help people understand….” i was able to contemplate for my own benefit. i resolved to contemplate a different person from the easter week each day this week building up to easter sunday.
the first person (or group of people, really) that got my attention was a person in the crowd greeting jesus as he came into town. year after year in palm sunday we wave the branches and celebrate the little kids, but i still think we miss the atmosphere. it couldn’t have become clearer to me as i heard the narrator at church this morning read “hosanna! savior” but sounded as if he was reading the ingredients to chicken kiev. this isn’t uncommon in bible-reading world. but i think it reaches its height of missing-the-point when the scripture is telling about a parade.
i got to thinking about how the U of F just won the national title and there are signs EVERYWHERE in town. big parade to welcome them home. or the way upper lined the streets when the boys left town for columbus. homecoming: parade, cheers, shouting… i don’t think i’m too out of line to assume that a group of people who are welcoming the one who will rescue them would be slightly more enthusaistic and passionate with their vocal inflection than those celebrating a yearly ritual of chicken bbq and pretty girls on a hay wagon.
so as i reflect what this event would have been like (or was like, perhaps more accurately) for Joe Schmoe (or Yosef Schmotzky), i can’t help but gravitating toward the hope that would be present in the air. granted, they thought jesus was going to save them largely in a political way rather than in a spiritual sense, but nonetheless the hopes are up that this guy is the real deal and soon the weight will be lifted. of course there is the lingering doubt, too, when you see the guy on a colt: “this guy is going to bring our people out of this?”
but i think more strongly is the feeling of “this guy has got be the one. he has too. i can’t do this any longer…”
we all know what’s coming this week. that crowd disapates. the discipes scatter. but easter teaches us that jesus gives good reason for hope. and the way he goes about doing His work might not seem to fit expectations and life’s not always a parade, but there’s a reason that we’re drawn to the side of the road and that’s because, in the words of a great songwriter, we all know that “i need something broken fixed inside of me.”