Today in the Church, around the entire world, we celebrate the day of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We refer to it as Palm Sunday because the crowds waived palm branches in celebration of the arrival of this potential king and saviour of Israel. If only they had understood the half of it. This day marks the beginning of Passion Week, the days leading up to the cross and the resurrection.
For centuries the world has celebrated Jesus without understanding who he is to us. Certainly they knew the stories and they entered into the various ceremonies and became very religious about it all. But much of the world only recognized the power to control the masses and did not understand the very personal nature of the relationship. Just like the crowd during the triumphal entry, they waived their "palm branches" without knowing who Jesus is to the world. Now that time is coming to an end.
Perhaps the church you attend is alive in the Spirit but much of the world is walking away. Perhaps you know personally the magnificence of Jesus, but your neighbour, who has attended church faithfully all of his life, no longer sees the sense of it, because he never met Jesus. Much of Europe is dead to Christ. Nations that once proclaimed him as King now set up the old churches as museums, relics of the past. No other religion is attacked and persecuted as much as Christianity and maybe it needs to be because there is a lot of hypocrisy in what man has done to her.
I can hear tables being turned over and coin scattering across the stone floor. What have we done to the Bride of Christ? We have not been building our churches on sound doctrine but on sound business practices. All the teaching we hear about today is leadership, leadership, leadership. Funny, from what I can see, Jesus spent his time teaching his disciples to be servants. Perhaps in our deprived thinking we are doing the right thing, building the Kingdom of God, but how much of it will stand against the purifying fire?
The reason there is so much scandal in the Church, why people are walking away, is because there is too much of us in what we do. It is not by our strength and might that we accomplish anything in the Kingdom but it is by the will of God. We are suppose to operate by his Spirit not our flesh. We aren't suppose to seek our will, or what is best for us but, as humble servants, we do the King's bidding. Because we have not learned this, all the world sees is a bunch of desperate people trying to hold on to the traditions of our past. Where is the radical love? Where is the passionate fire? Where is the faith that commands the mountains to move?
Not by best business practices or accountant rules. Not by leadership training or needs based surveys. Not by the latest trends or what worked well for a church somewhere down south. According to God's will for where you are and by his power. That is how the Church moves forward.
For so long leaders have tried to become professionals and to have the Church accredited by the world. It's time to throw off the man made mantle and put on the one given to us by Jesus. It is time to run away from all things man and run to the righteousness of Jesus. It is time to put an end to the scandals in the Church by becoming God's holy people again. It is time to stop seeking the world's approval and seek God's. It is time to set aside the hypocrisy of the palm branches and start laying down our cloaks before the King. If we humble ourselves before our God we may yet see revival in our churches.