My Scripture today is: Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!" Mark 11:9-10 (NIV)
I love a parade! How about you? Have any of you ever been to a parade? There is something about it that really gets my heart to pumping. We often have parades to celebrate special events such as Christmas, Homecoming, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day. Sometimes we have a parade to honor an important person who has come to our town. This morning I want us to imagine that we are watching a parade. Our city is honoring the very first astronaut from our city to ever walk on the moon. I will describe the parade and when the astronaut passes by, I want everyone to wave their flags and blow their noise makers. Let's practice blowing our noise makers to make sure they are working. Okay, everybody blow! Wow! That was great. Now, get ready, because the parade is about to begin.
Listen...I can hear the band. It is leading the parade and behind the band there are floats carrying a lot of important people...our congressman, our senator, and the mayor of our city. As they pass by, we smile and wave. Finally, here comes the astronaut, our hero! The crowd cheers, waves their flags, and blows their noise makers! (Wave and blow on the noise makers.) Then as the parade moves on down the street, the sound of the band fades away in the distance. It is over. The celebration is over. All that is left are the memories, and the confetti in the streets. That is a little bit like something that took place in the city of Jerusalem about 2000 years ago. A king was visiting their city. People lined the streets of the city hoping to get to see the King. The King came riding on a small donkey, and as he rode through the streets of the city, the people waved palm branches and shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
I'm sure that you know who that King was—it was Jesus. Today is Palm Sunday. Today we remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the people cheering and waving palm branches. It was a day that marked the beginning of a week that would see Jesus cheered, then arrested, tried, beaten, and put to death on a cross. But as that week came to an end, another week began just as the previous week had begun, with a celebration. I can hardly wait until next Sunday!