MAUNDY THURSDAY, April 2
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” (vv 39-40)
THE SERVANT KING
In October 2007, along with other pilgrim tourists from Montana, I walked down what is now known as Palm Sunday Road west from the Mount of Olives toward the walled-up Golden Gate at the east side of Temple Mount. Of course, neither the road we walked on nor the gate toward which we walked were the same ones that existed at the time of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem over 2000 years ago.
It was not the spectacular entry of the Messiah that people had expected — there was no white horse, no gleaming sword, no trumpets. It was, however, a telling sign of the kind of Messiah who had come — the Servant King — who rode a lowly animal and was heralded by waving palm branches. Later that week this Servant King would kneel in front of the same disciples that hailed his arrival in order to wash their feet.
I hadn’t thought beyond the obvious about this act of servanthood until I was asked to explain it to children at Flathead Bible Camp. I got down on my knees in front of them, and this is what I learned: I had to become lower than they were.
Now, instead of towering over them, I had to crane my neck upward to look into their faces. It was uncomfortable. It hurt my knees to kneel on the ground in front of the kids — again, uncomfortable. I learned that it is impossible to wash someone’s feet without becoming lower than they are, without being uncomfortable.
That experience reminds me of what it means to be a servant of the church and maybe that is exactly what Jesus, the Servant King, wants me and others to know. It is often uncomfortable. I must put others’ needs ahead of my own, and I cannot serve others by standing over them.
The Rev. Cheryl Hoops Interim Pastor
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