Worship as Protest
Updated: Feb 7
During the days of Jesus, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea. He preferred to live on the Mediterranean Sea at Caesarea and only came to Jerusalem when it was necessary. He did, however, come with his troops and entourage to Jerusalem at Passover every year. He wanted to be around in case any trouble broke out. He came into town apparently with much fanfare making a very public display of Roman power and authority to the Jews. Recently I learned that some scholars believe that on Palm Sunday, Jesus borrowed a donkey and timed his entry into Jerusalem at the other end of the city to coincide with the arrival of Pilate. It was a counter demonstration of sorts. Jesus’s entry may have served as a protest against Roman demonstrations and claims of absolute power. Even today we see demonstrations and counter demonstrations taking place at our state Capitol and in other major cities.
I heard one scholar compare Sunday worship with Jesus’s entry. Our worship is a form of protest against the claims of authority that our often made in our world. Claims made by government, political parties, tribal ideologies, consumerism, and even sports teams. On Sunday when we gather for worship we stage a public protest against anything or anyone other than God trying to claim our ultimate allegiance. Even when, constrained by the pandemic concerns, we worship online in the privacy of our homes, we still participate in the protest. Participating in prayer reminds ourselves that we do not have total control over our lives, listening to the message reminds us that the world does not have the corner on wisdom, giving an offering reminds us that life is not measured by possessions, and singing praise is our way of saying that our current struggles and suffering does not have the Last Word. We belong to a world of hope and equality. That world is eternal.
Our God is with us and our God reigns! Worship is our act of resistance against forces which try to tell us otherwise.
See you online or in person Sunday. Join the resistance!