From Deacon Dick
“Wait Here … and Stay Awake”
Jesus continues to touch deeply the lives of those who wait with him and stay awake. May we stay awake as we enter into our High Holy Days, so that we may we join our ancestors in reliving the story of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. Imagine … you were there on that day to look into the face of Jesus.
This reflection from ~54 AD is attributed to a member of the council that condemned Jesus.
The Entry into Jerusalem
It was 21 years ago, but I can remember as if it were yesterday, the excitement in Jerusalem when the news came that Jesus of Nazareth had arrived in the neighborhood and was spending the Sabbath at the village of Bethany. All those who were angry at the Romans cried out, “A leader! A leader!” All those who were sick cried out, “A healer! A healer!.” Wherever we went, there was talk of the coming deliverance.
The next day was the first of the week, which the Romans call the day of the Sun. I was pondering the words of the Law in my little study chamber … when suddenly I heard the patter of many feet in the street beneath me Looking out, I saw them hurrying, as it seemed, to the Temple. I put on my sandals, took my staff in my hand and, drawing the mantle over my head, hurried out after them. But when they came to the Broad Place before the Water Gate, they turned sharply to the right, and went down the Tyropoeon (rugged ravine) as far as the Fountain Gate, where I overtook them.
It is 300 paces from the Fountain Gate to En Rogel (water fountain), and the Nazarene and his friends had advanced somewhat to meet us. In that short space, the enthusiasm of the crowd had arisen to a fever pitch. As we neared him one cried out, and all joined in the cry, “Hosanna!” Hosanna!” and then they shouted our usual cry of welcome, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” One bolder than the others called out, “Blessed is the coming of the kingdom!” At that there was the wildest joy among the people! Some tore off branches of palms and stood by the way waving them in front of Jesus; others took off their talith (prayer shawl) and threw it down in front of the young ass on which Jesus rode, as if to pave the way into the Holy City with choice linen.
But when I looked upon the face of Jesus, there were no signs there of the coming triumph; he sat with his head bent forward, his eyes downcast, and his face all sad. And a chill somehow came over me.