Saturday, April 13th
Laud: to praise (someone or something)
Matthew 21:1-3, 6-11 (NRSV)
When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately…
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd[b] spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
A few months ago I wrote to my senator, praising and thanking him for taking a position that differed from the popular opinion of my state. I was pleased that he voted the way I believe is right and so I commended him for taking this independent stance. Of course, a short while later he voted for something I was against. I then was annoyed that he was so independently minded- the very thing for which I had just lauded him!
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. As Jesus rode into town on a humble donkey, people gathered at the roadside with palm branches, praising and shouting hosannas! It would seem that this should be a glorious day for Jesus, but he knew better. He knew that they were lauding him only because they thought he would be the Messiah they were expecting, a new king who would rescue and restore them from Roman oppression. By the end of the week, their disappointment in him had turned into outrage…
We are fortunate to have the whole Holy Week and Easter Resurrection story, so we can understand how Jesus is worthy of our praise in all situations and circumstances. We now know that his words and actions, which at the time turned their world upside down, had greater meaning and purpose. (In Matthew’s account, the next thing Jesus does after his triumphal entry is to wreak havoc in the temple by overturning the tables of the money changers! No wonder the people were confused.)
We may laud people because they meet our earthly expectations, only later to find they have disappointed us. I lauded the senator for his independent thinking- until I found his independent thinking contrary to my thinking. People lauded Jesus as their Messiah and then turned against him when he wasn’t the Messiah they had in mind. We are ordinary humans with earthly expectations. Jesus was the Son of God with heavenly expectations.
Jesus’ purposes are God’s purposes. Even now, there are times when we don’t understand why life is the way it is, or why God is the way God is. We cannot fully fathom God’s ways and purposes. But we DO know that God gave us Jesus to show us that we are fully loved, that we are fully forgiven, and that our salvation is fully guaranteed- which is so much more than we could ever expect or imagine!
Jesus IS worthy of our praise! All Glory, Laud and Honor!
All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Cross photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash