My granddaughter Lucy is 26 months old. On Saturday night when I tell her that tomorrow is “church day” she cheers, and not only because that means she’ll get to eat cookies that Auntie Sharon gives her in the Coffee Connection after the service. No, Lucy also loves the few minutes each week when Miss Susi comes into the nursery and sings “Jesus songs” with the toddlers.
Thanks to Miss Susi, Lucy knows that there is a story about Jesus riding on a donkey, and people singing “Hosanna! Hosanna to the King!” She doesn’t know what that means yet, but she knows it happened.
She hasn’t heard thirty sermons (or fifty) on the fact that the crowd who cried “Hosanna!” on Sunday were the same who cried, “Crucify him!” on Friday. She’s just at the beginning of absorbing all this.
I think I envy her.
I would love to go back to a time when I didn’t know (or think I know) all these stories forwards and backwards and inside out, to a time when I expected to be thrilled and surprised by them. There was a time when I wept uncontrollably at a narrative of the passion with no pictures. Then there were years when I watched Jesus of Nazareth just for the catharsis of tears. Then there was the year of The Passion of the Christ…saw it twice, the second time on Good Friday. Decided to be very cautious about being over-exposed to that film, since I didn’t want to become inured to its horror, or its power.
Lately, though…these earth-shaking, world-changing stories seem too much like business as usual. Perhaps because I’m involved in the details of worship-planning (where does the ensemble stand? is there room for the handbells? how long is the offertory? what key is that chorus in?), I haven’t left myself heart room to experience the story in the intimate way I once did.
Tomorrow, for just a moment, I’d like to be an anonymous face in the crowd, excited by the fulfillment of prophecy, thrilled to see Jesus ride into Jerusalem, shouting Hosanna till my throat hurts, and waving palms in a spontaneous overflow of worship. Tomorrow I’d like nothing to be about me, and everything to be about Him.
Lord, grant me a new vision, a child’s eyes, to see You anew and truly.