This morning in chapel at St. John, I thought it would be fun to take all the palm branches left over from Palm Sunday and strew them all down the aisles. It was a huge mess! I would say it might have been the biggest mess you can make in church. In fact I was pretty sure after chapel, the janitor would no longer be speaking to me with kind words. Kids walked in and were shocked by the mess on the floors. It was a glorious mess. (By the way as a youth leader, making a mess is what I do.)
I had the students read with me Mark 11:1-11. It is my favorite version of the story of Jesus being called King. In this text, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem and the people were excited that this might be the next king to rule. They were excited because they thought He would come and kick out the Romans and rule the world again. Jesus walked into the temple and did nothing. He just walked back out. I would say all the people who were holding those palm branches just dropped them on the floor. He wasn’t the king they expected, but He is a king and He would show them how He would clean up the mess they had in their lives.
I proceeded to share with the kids and staff about the mess we all live with. My family can make some big messes. Please don’t ever plan on just dropping in because if you do, you will see a mess. If you give me some time, I can clean up some and make it look like my house is clean. In fact I say to my wife and kids, "The trick is make it look good, but not TOO good so they don’t know we worked for a couple hours making it look clean." You see I think many of us have a mess in our lives we pretend isn’t really there, or we spend a lot of time making clean- ups look like we have it all together. But here is the thing - we are a mess!
This week is Holy Week. It is the week Jesus shares with us that He isn’t here as some great king to conquer the world, but is here to clean up our mess. He showed us His love on Maundy Thursday through being a servant, then He continued that service on Good Friday by making the ultimate sacrifice on the cross to clean up our mess. He rose again Easter Sunday to keep His promise of new life in Him.
If you haven’t been in worship in awhile, I would encourage you to join the Church - any Church - for worship these next four days. Come and see all He did for us. It wasn’t necessarily what we expected and certainly is more than just a quick cleaning. Jesus has come and He rose again to bring new life and clean up the mess that is our life.
Thank you, Jesus, for your love and grace!
(By the way we did clean up the sanctuary today, and the janitor is still speaking to me…)