Sunday, April 05, 2009

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord

Barack Obama promised change.

So did Jesus.

Barack Obama flew into London in Air Force One, as the President of the United States would be expected to do. He had an entourage of 500 advisers, chefs, medical staff and journalists, a private helicopter and a bullet-proof limousine. The crowds greeted him with rapturous applause and cries of ‘Barack! Barack!’, and they fawned at his feet and hung on his every word.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, as the Messiah had been prophesied to do. He had a modest entourage of disciples. The ecstatic crowds greeted him with shouts of ‘Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’, for the Christ had come to them to usher in his kingdom: to bring hope, to bring hope, and to bring change.

But he never promised freedom from tyranny or freedom from oppression. And his promise of freedom from fear necessitates mastering the concept of perfect love.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”

And the opportunity for change he gives us is not as the President gives.

They might have expected their Messiah to enter Jerusalem in glory, but Jesus was not of this world. External pomp and ceremony was not important, for God looks at the heart. There was no victorious leader passing through the Golden Gate to restore the House of David, for the political was subsumed to the religious. Yet the religious was inseparable from the political, for the spiritual fervour and ecstasy of Palm Sunday is but the first movement of a passionate symphony of anguish and trauma; of doubt and denial; of death and delusion.

The themes introduced during the first movement are nonsensical without the rest of this week. The trial before Pilate, the betrayal by Judas, the Last Supper with his disciples, his crucifixion at the hands of Rome, his death, burial and resurrection are intrinsic to our understanding of salvation – both personal and political.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he did so as the fulfilment of the long-promised salvation of Israel. The Jews yearned for a king who would proclaim Israel’s independence from Rome; they wanted a Messiah who would be their religio-political hero; they wanted a Jesus who would fulfil their religious expectations and affirm their political agendas.

So little has changed.

President Obama is not the Messiah, but he is widely treated and viewed as such. He will resolve the credit crunch, halt nuclear proliferation, defuse the threats of terrorism, placate a resurgent Russia, moderate Islamist fundamentalism, eradicate global warming and heal Africa. He has promised so much in the political realm to such disparate and diverse groups that he shall not fail to disappoint.

On this final Sunday of Lent, let us be thankful that Christ promised us absolutely nothing in the political realm, yet everything in the spiritual. And he never disappoints.


Anonymous Steven said...


5 April 2009 at 11:19  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Compare the two. Will Barak Obama still be the centre of many peoples adoration in 2000 years.
Often when I look at a great Cathedral, I smile at the words of the scoffers & say " Not bad for a Jewish Lad who was a carpenter for thirty years, apreacher for three, then got publicly executed!".

5 April 2009 at 12:32  
Blogger tammyswofford said...

President Barack Obama will be a sterling media success and historians will later debunk the myth.


5 April 2009 at 14:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama's achievements so far:
- keeping the world safe for abortion
- quadrupling the US budget deficit
- raising taxes
- taking over General Motors
- losing several cabinet ministers before appointment
- pork, pork & more pork
- continuing with rendition
- crappy DVDs for Brown (so not all bad)

5 April 2009 at 17:43  
Anonymous len said...

Praise the Lord,
Praise the Lord,O my soul,
I will praise the Lord all my life,
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live,
Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs they return to the ground,
on that day their plans come to nothing,
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God.
(From psalm146)

5 April 2009 at 17:59  
Blogger Mike said...

Amen, indeed.

5 April 2009 at 19:10  
Blogger Theo said...

Jesus left us with something inestimably more, something we can only understand by having a right relationship with Him.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 14:27 (ANIV)

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33 (ANIV)

5 April 2009 at 20:45  
Blogger OldSouth said...

Amen, again.

I would urge His Grace's readers to spend an hour with Malcolm Muggeridge's classic little book The End of Christendom.

Most appropriate for any Holy Week, especially this one.

6 April 2009 at 01:16  
Blogger WATCH AND PRAY said...

Thank You! You are blessing!

6 April 2009 at 01:31  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

Lovely post.

6 April 2009 at 14:07  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Obama like Jimmy Carter will disappear without trace. He is a stop-gap in all senses

6 April 2009 at 20:56  
Anonymous miserable sinner said...

Voyager is probably right. Many people think that Obama will be a one-termer like Carter. After the first couple of years of Jimmy Carter as President, lots of people who voted for him would no longer admit having done so. Many people who were giddy with excitement when Obama was elected have now lost their jobs.

Obama is a hollow man, and from the excerpts that I have read of his two books, he appears to have DEEP issues with white people, despite having been raised by whites.

I didn't think too much of Pres. Bush, but he served eight years and has now gone back to his ranch and his pick-up truck. Obama will NEVER get over leaving the White House. He is on the ultimate power trip, and he will NOT be able to go back to a life without an entourage and non-stop media adulation. I can't believe he took 500 people, including a CHEF, with him on a trip to Europe.

7 April 2009 at 07:18  

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