Last Sunday in church, I was struck afresh with the realization of how fickle people can be. From ancient times until now, people haven’t changed.
This past weekend was Palm Sunday, the beginning of holy week, the week before Easter. In many churches palm fronds were waved to commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
As Jesus entered the city riding on a donkey, signifying he came in peace, people were captivated by his very presence. Their king had arrived. “Hosanna,” they cried, meaning “save us.” They waved palm branches before him, then paved the road with them as a symbol in the ancient tradition of victory and rejoicing. They welcomed Jesus as an honored hero coming back from victorious battle. They heard of his miracles; many witnessed his rebuke of corrupt religious leaders. They hoped he would challenge the oppressive political system and overcome the tyranny of Rome. At last they thought they had a leader who would save them. Finally someone would help them escape their persecution. Loud hosannas rang out announcing his victory.
But when he didn’t perform as they thought he should, they turned on him. Within a few days their cries turned from “Hosanna” to “Crucify him.” They wanted him to do things their way, to overturn political powers and to right their religious wrongs. They didn’t understand; he had a better plan – a plan to save them another way.
People were fickle 2000 years ago – and so they are today. That thought struck me when our pastor invited us to raise our hands in praise and worship last Sunday. It is easy to sing hosannas when things are going our way; but easier to vacillate when we don’t feel like it, or when things don’t happen on our schedule. Our minds can be swayed by the crowd, our attitudes changed, and actions altered.
When God doesn’t “act” immediately on my behalf, I have a choice to make: will I praise him and welcome him into my circumstance, or will I become defiant and angry because he didn’t do what I wanted? Will I accept him, or reject him? Will I be as erratic as the people of that day? Will my hosannas be turned into words of damning?
For me, I have decided to raise my palms – my hands – toward the heavens in surrender and praise to my King, my Lord, and my Savior, now and forever. He is worthy of my praise. My hosanna rings true because he did indeed save me.
How about you? You choose.