Telling the story.

After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
Luke 19:28 NRSV,_Cologne,_c._1520,_limewood_and_softwood,_polychrome_-_Museum_Schn%C3%BCtgen_-_Cologne,_Germany_-_DSC00072.jpg

And the story continues with the mysterious and improbable fetching of a donkey, the extoling of Jesus by the disciples, the laying down of cloaks and the waving of palms, and ends with the possibility of the rocks crying out praise.

The significance of each part of the story can be explained and obviously draws on the cultural knowledge of the community it was written for. What are we to do with this account today?

Maybe it speaks to you of the lifting up and honouring of Jesus, maybe the fickleness of the crowd of disciples who were later to desert Jesus or maybe the oneness of creation where the very rocks cry out and groan.

The story demands a response and we need to just sit and listen to the reactions.

It is good to know the significance of each part of the story but then we need to be prepared for a conclusion we might not expect. The intracacy of the story, when it is explained, how it weaves prophecy into the facts, could make you think, it probably didn’t happen. Could the story be conveying a truth about Jesus not a truth of history? It’s too clever. Has the literal event been embelished to convey a deeper truth?

The fact is, we are not the community this story was written down for. We Christians in the West, inherit the tradition that speaks a meaning to us from our past that is different to the original hearers’. We are not though in a culture where this is true anymore.

Today we need to realise that this tradition has lost its grip and need to listen to how God is speaking to people today, and where this story finds traction today. I suspect the drama still speaks and we need to let the drama speak, not explained it away. There is a time and place for this, but today I suspect it is likely to turn Jo Normal off. Let the drama speak.

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