A March for Change
Palm Sunday 2018
March 25, 2018
The past twenty-four hours saw people around the world united in marching against gun violence. Millions took part around the globe to protest senseless killing, to advocate for peace, and to speak of love for their fellow man.
Roughly two millennium ago a much smaller march occurred in Jerusalem. The story has several versions. It is written that the man known as Jesus of Nazareth rode on the back of a donkey into the city. He did not ride a horse but a donkey and I like that. Donkeys are often bred with horses. A male horse and female donkey, also known as a jenny, produce a mule known as a “hinny” while a female horse and a male donkey, called a jack, produce a mule or, by some, a jackass. The donkey was not pre-arranged. Jesus told his disciples they would find it at the end of a lane tied up which they did. They were given permission to use the donkey once the reason was made known.
Yesterday a national football team gave surviving students of Florida’s recent school shooting their team plane so students and their families could fly to Washington DC to participate in the March for our Lives being held there.
No one would claim that those participating in yesterday’s march hold a claim to be a messiah but they did herald a more unified call for better gun control which, if enacted, will save lives. Of that I am certain.
On this day, known as Palm Sunday, many read the written gospels telling the story of the march to Jerusalem. It is characterized as a triumphant entry and yet, the story ends with the arrest and crucifixion of the man called Jesus. Yesterday’s march was in reverse to the ancient story. Students were shot and killed before the triumphant calls for better gun control were heard.
Today many carried palms, an ancient plant used to denote goodness and peace. Just before his arrest, Jesus told his followers that one would betray him and another would deny him. Yesterday, students and others told their legislators they felt betrayed. Some politicians who use social media daily were strangely silent, almost as if to deny the existence of the marches at all. One simply took a weekend vacation and played golf.
The moral of both stories is, in part, the same. We must act and live according to what we profess. If we claim that all life matters and is sacred, then we must fight for the protection of that life. The greatest freedom of all is to have life. Several weeks ago, palm trees gave shade as seventeen caskets held the bodies of those killed by a gun in the hands of a disturbed young man. Today many carried palms as witness to their faith.
I really hope that one day our children can triumphantly and confidently march into their schools to learn and grow, to become educated and, in doing so, make the world a better place for all. If we fail to make this happen, then we, like the crowd two thousand years ago, are chanting “Crucify!”