Sunday, April 1, 2001
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Associate Pastor for Mission
Let us pray:
We like to think, O God, that if we had been there, we would have treated you with the respect you deserved: that we would have found majesty in lowliness, greatness in meekness, truth in service, and glory in sacrifice; that we would have seen with our eyes, heard with our ears, understood with our hearts, and recognized Jesus of Nazareth as the servant of the Lord and the Christ of God; that instead of crucifixion, there would have been a coronation; and that the triumphal entry would not have been mocked by Good Friday. But we know that the outcome would have been the same. For we, too, are hungry for a hero. We crave some glimpse of greatness. We are starving for the spectacular.
This day reminds us of the worst and the best we can be. One the one hand, we see the selfishness, the fear, the avarice, and the cowardice that made Calvary inevitable. On the other hand, we see the selflessness, the confidence, the grace, and the courage that made Calvary possible. We ask for success, and you teach us acceptance. We ask to be loved, and you ask us to love. We ask for ease, and you challenge us. We ask for a triumphant Messiah, and you come as one obedient unto death.
Walk among us, surprising God of peace. If we remain speechless as Christ passes by, if we stand by the road in timid silence, confront us with the moment of decision, O God. If we are too proud to follow, cast out our vanity and let us become modest disciples. If we are too angry to follow him, dispel our hostility and let us become makers of peace. If we are too hesitant to follow him, exorcise our fear and let us become bearers of courage.
Although the savior may not have appeared as we would have expected, we watch the parade now in awe. In awe of your love and sacrifice for us. In you, O God, we find a cause we can live for, a self we can live with, and a redeemer we can die with. Indeed, we are blessed ones. And so, we would not gather this day, O God, reminded of the messiah who came to serve, without lifting up the needs. We pray for those whose voice is stamped out by the crowd, for those who lack the courage to face the crowd, for those places where there is no reason or room for a parade, for those who stand at the tomb weeping, for those who feel Easter will never come. Be with all of these your children and wrap them in your peace and comfort.
Lead us into the week ahead chastened by the knowledge that we too are capable of the treachery to which even your disciples succumbed; comforted by the assurance that, just as you did not forsake them, you will not forsake us; and strengthened by the certainty that you can change us, as them, from fickle friends into faithful disciples. We ask this and all things in the name of the Jesus Christ, who taught the disciples to pray together, saying, Our Father . . .
(Portions of this prayer are borrowed from Litanies and Other Prayers by Phyllis Cole and Everett Tilson (Abingdon Press).)
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church