17 Apr Unbridled Love
The Stones Would Shout Out
Jesus told his disciples to go into the village and find a colt that had never been ridden untie it and bring it to him. And, if anyone asked why to answer, the Lord needs it.” So they did. Jesus rode that colt into Jerusalem and people kept spreading their cloaks ahead of him in a sign of honor and respect. As he moved through the crowd, it continued to grow and they chanted “‘blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” The Pharisees saw this crowd gathering and became nervous, “Teacher,” they asked Jesus, “tell your disciples to stop.” Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”
Life is full of uncertainties, isn’t it? It isn’t surprising we would rather not have our faith ever fall into the realm of uncertainty. Because our lives are so full of grey areas, we would rather have our faith be the one thing that is rock solid, black and white, the words are right there on the page, those are my rules and that is that. So our preachers are tasked with giving us 5 things we can do this week to become closer to God and set ourselves up as judges over those who don’t have as clear an idea of what it means to be a Christian as we do. We want to saddle up our God and keep him manageable and predictable… In the story, Jesus rides the colt but in our lives, we often mistake Jesus for the colt!
A Different Love
Today another reality confronts us, another truth, another thing we have to deal with, confront, confess, whatever you want to call it. This king of ours, the one who we call savior, his love is an unbridled love. But all too often rather than treating Jesus like our King and singing Jesus’ praises like the disciples did that day, we mistake Jesus for the colt, we mistake God’s love for something we can saddle and bridle and then direct towards the people or places or positions that *we* think are right. Or, we allow other people to saddle God with their own expectations or prejudices.
Because it is very hard for us to accept a God who loves so crazily, so amazingly, so deeply, and so unconditionally. there must be something we have to do to deserve this love, right? No. And the Pharisees sensed this right away. Oh-oh, someone is coming into town and he will mess up all of our rules and expectations, please, Jesus, have your disciples quiet down. We are in charge here not you. Even if I commanded them to be quiet, even the stones would cry out.
No, we cannot handle that kind of love, that kind of extravagance, that kind of worship. Give us conditions, give us a way to measure ourselves against your expectations and against how the person sitting next to me is doing. The proof of humanity’s inability to accept a God who loves like this is coming in just a few days, for it is that sin, that desire for control, that put Jesus up on a cross, between two criminals. If Jesus wouldn’t command his disciples to be quiet, then instead Jesus would be the one silenced.
Are we Ready?
But God’s answer to our “no” is a resounding “yes”. Easter faith is the faith that despite our inability to handle a God who loves us in such an unbridled way, even though humanity put God’s Son to death on a cross, even the stones cried out, and tombstones are rolled away, and a resurrected Jesus walks out into the world to proclaim God’s love that had now even conquered death. This is the love that surrounds you and me today and all days. Can you handle that?
Can you handle a love that knows no boundaries, no requirements, no stipulations? It’s tough when you live in such a conditional society and culture but that is why we gather in places like this to hear this word and then go out into our own world’s spreading that unbridled love near and far. It has implications for our lives, our friends lives, and our entire world! Thank you God for your unbridled, unsaddled, unrestrained love, a love that not even the tombstone’s in our own lives can hold back. Roll back those tombstones in our lives today so that we might proclaim what your Son has done for us even this day.