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This Year in Jerusalem

I never feel as alive as when I’m telling a story. This is weird because besides this one aberration I am a devout introvert. This week I had the chance to tell a story to a group of over 50 guys. I could tell as I spoke that they were ‘with me’. I had their rapt attention as I ‘spun’ out my tale. It was a great feeling. You could have heard a pin drop except for my voice, rising and falling in the rhythm, in the groove.

The story involved people just like my audience, people who once were broken and imprisoned each in his own way. I was painting a picture of the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday! For thousands of years people had gathered for the Passover and a growing sense that a new deliverance was on the way. Participants had a growing anticipation of the coming of the Messiah, the Son of David. Each Passover celebration ended with the words that expressed disappointment and hope, as they spoke “Next year in Jerusalem.” to one another.

In our story some had been given the secret of the Kingdom. They had encountered the Son of David. They knew that it was no longer “next year” but it was “THIS YEAR IN JERUSALEM!” Who were these people, to whom this secret had been revealed? They were the poor in spirit. They were people who had been imprisoned and isolated but had been made free! Who the Son makes free is free indeed!

Bartimaeus, freed from imprisonment in darkness and isolation espies the Son of David riding humbly on the foal of a donkey. He tells the man who is was rescued from a wordless world. The once mute man began to shout! Former lepers and the woman with the issue of blood began to crowd around nudging each other excitedly. Zacheaus clamoured up a Palm tree this time. The former thief and pariah began to cut down branches and generously pass them to those below. Reaching up for the branches with his once withered hand a man passes some on to a group of children. Among these children are the ones Jesus had gathered in his arms. In their midst is a boy from Nain whose mother received him back from the dead. The man who had run naked among the tombs now takes off his robe again but this time to lay it down as a red carpet welcoming in the King. This year in Jerusalem a giant throng of the freed welcomed in the King.

The religious establishment were trapped in fear, fear that their place of position was threatened, the status quo would be upset. They pled with Jesus to quiet this crowd. “If they were to be silent the rocks would have to cry out.” All of creation had been waiting for this moment! This year in Jerusalem the King has come! The Son of David was not welcomed by those who would rather cling to their own way but those who knew their need, those He had freed, were welcoming indeed.

Today, though we are not in Jerusalem, we must decide which group we stand with. We can remain imprisoned in fear and self-serving or we can be free! The Prophet greater than Moses gives us that same choice between life (free and exuberant life) and bondage and death, and he recommends life.

There was a holy hushed moment there in Dorchester Penitentiary that evening and people decided. I believe many decided to choose life.

I think I will continue to tell stories. I am glad that I have some of the greatest stories to tell. Like all real story tellers I do not weary of telling the old old story. These are the best stories of all!

Not all of us can be story tellers. Words do not come easily to us but our lives tell a story. What story are you telling today. The King has come, it is “this year in Jerusalem”. We have a story to tell, a story to live.

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