Sunday, April 17, 2011

From a crowd to a mob

Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed: “Blessed is he who comes, the king in God's name! All's well in heaven! Glory in the high places!” Luke 19: 37-38 (The Message Bible)

What a difference just a few days can make! On Palm Sunday, the crowds in Jerusalem greeted Jesus with hosannas. He has returned to his hometown, victorious, like a Super Bowl champion. His fans wave flags and sing his praises; they each want to see his face, touch his robe.

Then suddenly, four days later, the tide has turned. What has happened to the cheering supporters? They are still a noisy mob, and instead of shouting accolades, they are screaming jeers, taunts. “Hosanna in the highest” has been replaced with “Crucify him”.

How could this happen? How could these people turn so quickly? What is the mob mentality all about?

Remember when you were in high school and one of the “cool” kids decided to pick on the class nerd. Everyone went along with the “cool” kid, even though they knew it was wrong. You might have been friends with the one everyone picked on. You went to his house after school or talked to him on the phone. But at school, did you defend him? Did you try to get the other kids to knock it off? Or, if you stuck by your friend, did you silently accept the taunts just like he did?

Perhaps you were the “cool” kid. You didn’t mean to start anything; you just made a few wise cracks about the brainiac you got stuck next to in study hall. But it caught on and pretty soon everybody was sneering at the kid. And you didn’t do anything to make it stop.

I went to school in that wonderful decade known as the seventies and that’s kind of what went on. From what I hear about our schools nowadays, we were actually relatively kind to everyone. What is up with the bullying that’s going on? It makes you wonder where the kids get it from. As adults, are we setting the example we should, or can we just as easily pick up that mob mentality. Maybe we aren’t shouting jeers but just what do our actions say?

Lord, be with me every day in my dealings with all people. Help me to treat all people with love and kindness, and help me to not judge anyone. Lord, above all, help me to remember what Your Son has done for us, that he silently accepted the worst bullying ever so that we would be spared that pain.

(As we swing into Holy Week, I am planning daily to post a Bible passage from the Passion. And for today's picture, this is one of my favorites from when I was in Kenya in 2006. These school children, outside at recess, came running out to greet us and touch us, thinking that as foreigners we could some how bless them by our touch. Read more about it. )

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