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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 11:1–11   

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

     Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
     Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
     Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (NRSV)

We often want to separate religion and politics, to retreat into the peace and comfort of church to get away from the rest of the world. And it can be tempting to shy away from engaging in politics because in many ways the current state of politics in America seems antithetical to our faith. We see an unwillingness to compromise, hateful words and actions, and a general lack of care, concern, and compassion for many of our neighbors. Why would we want to engage in that? Is it not a better use of our time to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.?

But if we are truly striving to follow Jesus’ example, we must find a way to engage in both religion and politics. Jesus was not just a religious figure. His parade into the city on a donkey surrounded by people waving palms and shouting Hosanna was not happenstance. It was an intentional political act meant to contrast the way Roman rulers entered cities on war horses as a sign of power and dominance. Jesus’ entry on a donkey showed humility and accessibility.

And so we cannot shy away from engaging in politics if we hope to bring forth God’s kingdom on Earth. We must feed the hungry and clothe naked at the same time we’re advocating and voting to ensure those in power are doing what’s best for all of God’s children.

As I consider how to do your work in the world, may I remember that there are no corners of my life your love does not reach, and that no pain is off limits to your healing touch. Show me there are no aspects of life that should be exempt from my efforts to shine your light into the world, and help me to do so with kindness, grace, and humility. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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