Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Palm Sunday

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." Zechariah 9:9

"And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, 'Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.' " Luke 19:41-42
We spent Palm Sunday weekend with our fellow LMH/MDA missionaries at a rest house in Ndop. It was a weekend full of fellowship, relaxing, and even some sightseeing. We saw how they make pottery. We saw how they make tea. (We got to hold a chimp!) It was a high point, a relaxing time, an almost care-free time. But there was plenty that God gave me to think about.
In some ways, the weekend vacation gave me some perspective on life. It's easy to forget about Good Friday when you are caught up in the triumphalism of Palm Sunday. It is easy to worship when the crowd is worshiping, but it is hard to stay with Christ when the crowds turn. It is easy to look at the promises of Christ and forget what it takes for us to keep our end of the bargain.

Both processes, turning clay into pottery and turning tea leaves into tea, involve a breaking down, a drying out, the application of heat. The clay is made stronger and resolute after it is formed by the potter and fired. The tea is made more potent by being crushed and chopped and baked. There's a lot to think about there. He is the potter, we are the clay, but the potter puts the clay to bake in a thousand degree oven. We can have a greater effectiveness, a greater usefulness as God's hands and feet, if we let ourselves be crushed first. Wine comes from crushed grapes, bread comes from wheat under the grindstone. It is often difficult for me to allow God to work on me like I know he must. To prune, to purify, to return.

This life has those triumphal, relaxing, uplifting Palm Sunday moments. There are also brutal, discouraging, demoralizing, Good Friday moments. But at the end of it all, there is the one, glorious, resurrection moment. Let that be enough.
PS: But really, how could one not be happy when one is holding a chimpanzee?)

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