Monday, March 18, 2013

What's in the Details...

As a small child growing up in a Disciples congregation, I can remember with fondness the processional on Palm Sunday. We got to march in with the choir, waving our palm branches, and for once a year, we children were the center of attention of the worship service. I can also recall the lady who was in “charge” of us. She was a stickler to detail. She instructed us how to hold our palms, wave our palms, how to march, how to not smile, walk straight, and look happy. There is the year I am told that is still used to caution the children of my home church that I decided to rebel from such instructions and free style dance my way down the center aisle. She was not too happy that I didn't stick to the details but I became a legend. Our adult life is full of details: phones keep ringing when we need to not be disturbed, emails that need a reply, children get sick at the most inconvenient time. We struggle with the details of our bodies that don’t work like they once did: details of doctor’s appointments, specialist, medical test and medication. Not to mention our children’s homework, athletics, orthodontics appointments, and school activities. It can make anyone yearn to free style it down the center aisle.
We tend to think spirituality means escaping the concern with details. Spiritual people we think live very simple lives. We think they don’t worry about mortgages, doctor appointments or going to church committee meetings. We quickly stereotype them as sandals wearing, praying, granola eating feeding the birds type people. That is far from the biblical understanding of spirituality. According to scripture, the main hindrance to our spirituality is that we pay too much attention to the wrong details. When we study the life of Jesus we find there are many details Jesus ignored. Jesus didn't worry about the detail of urgency. He was never a victim of the urgent demands of others. He didn't worry about the detail of effectiveness only faithfulness. Jesus never worried about the detail of recognition or popularity.  Details that consume us never crossed Jesus’ mind. We tend to overlook the details that Jesus was concerned about. Our souls are starving because we have tried so hard to save ourselves by controlling the wrong details that we have no energy left for the detail of finding a Savior.
On Palm Sunday Jesus was a stickler for detail. Why? Because when Jesus sat upon that young colt and began his ride into Jerusalem, not only did it specifically validate the minute details as recorded by the prophet Zechariah centuries early, but some people around him were wise enough to recognize the exact moment of their salvation. They cut branches and laid them down on the ground in front of Him. They began to shout and sing, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!” This singing of psalms was a worship detail repeated every Passover and feast.  We know the details of Palm Sunday, the last Supper, Good Friday, and Easter. We have gone through them year after year. Why do this again? For the same reason we continue to line up our children and have them lead the processional. It’s the only way we can take our eyes off the things that do not mater and set them upon the arrival of the Savior. The coolest thing is that once we have learned to look for Jesus, we will find him in every detail of our life.
Let us all act Like children and Dance, Sing, and wave our Palms..

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