Sermón: Palmas y perspectivas

Domingo de ramas / Palm Sunday
9 abril, 2017 / April 9, 2017
Mateo 21:1-11 / Matthew 21:1-11
First Lutheran Church of Lutheran Square

(I also submitted this sermon as an assignment for my preaching class, so I experimented with a different approach to writing a sermon.  I hope you enjoy it!  It also preceded an action with the Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance, supporting reforms of Chicago’s Welcoming Cities Ordinance.)


(sermon starts around 2:04)
(manuscript is below)

It all started out like just another ordinary day in Bethphage. My day started early – I got up with the sun and ate my breakfast while I watched the morning news. They have been reporting some really unbelievable things lately. They say that there’s some sort of prophet or revolutionary really shaking things up up there in Galilee – he heals the sick and feeds the hungry and gives sight to the blind. I mean, he sure sounds like the Messiah that the prophets foretold. But I don’t know if I really believe that this guy is the real deal. I mean, prophets like Isaiah and Zechariah lived hundreds of years ago, and now people are saying that this prophet is the son of King David, who lived almost a thousand years ago. I just don’t know if I buy it, you know?

Anyway, so I was out back, fixing the barn door – I swear, that darn donkey is going to kick it right off its hinges one of these days – when out of nowhere, these two men came down the road and through my gate. I could tell by their accents that they weren’t from Judea. And they asked me if they could borrow my donkey and her colt. I mean, that’s a little weird, right? So I asked them what they needed them for, and do you know what they told me? They said, “The Lord needs them.” The Lord needs them – just like that. But the strangest thing was, I believed them. I don’t know how to explain it. There was just something compelling about them; like they had the air of heaven about them, almost like there were angels walking with them. I know it sounds crazy. But I gave them my donkey and her colt all the same. I mean, what if it really is the Lord? What if this really is the Messiah? Could it be?

Era un día normal en Betfagué. Me levanté temprano, con el sol, y desayuné mientras veía las noticias. Han reportado algunas cosas bien raras ultimamente. Dicen que hay algún profeta o revolucionario, o qué sé yo, agitando a la gente en Galilea – sana a los enfermos y alimenta a los hambrientos, y hasta da vista a los ciegos. Digo, me suena como el Mesias anticipado por los profetas. Pero no sé si lo creo en realidad. Digo, los profetas como Isaías y Zacarías vivieron hacen cientos de años, y ahora en estos días, se dice que este tipo es el Hijo del Rey David, que vivió hacen casi mil años. Es difícil creer.395878

Bueno, de todos modos, estaba afuera de mi casa, arreglando una puerta, y de repente, se acercaban dos hombres y entraron por el portón. Sabía por sus accentos que no eran de Judea. Y me pidieron que les diera mi burra y también mi burrito. Era algo bien raro. Entonces, les pregunté porque los necesitaban, y ¿sabes lo que me dijeron? Me dijeron, “El Señor los necesita.” El Señor los necesita – así mismo. Pero la cosa más rara de todo era que yo los creía. No sé como explicarlo. Llevaban con ellos una fragancia de los cielos, como si los ángeles caminaran con ellos. Yo sé que suena loco. Pero igual, les di la burra y el burrito. Y me quedé preguntando, ¿Puede ser que este realmente es el Señor? ¿Puede ser que este es el Mesías?

Jerusalem isn’t exactly a quiet city. Especially around this time of day, the streets are usually busy with people going about their lives; the air is full of dust and the voices of vendors yelling, “fresh fish!” and “pomegranates!” and “dates!” It’s loud. And it’s hot. I was standing in my usual spot on the corner, outside the grocery store, asking people for loose change. But I could tell that something was up. It looked like lots of people were heading in the direction of the east city gate. No one was going into or coming out of the grocery store, so I decided to follow the crowd to find out what was going on.

3-entering-the-city-jan-hynes-townsville-2008We walked around the corner by the main gate, and bam! The street was just wall to wall people. They were shouting and laying their cloaks and a bunch of palm branches on the road, like they were preparing the way for a king. A whole bunch of people had their cellphones and their cameras out, tryingto take pictures and videos. You know how it goes. The last time I saw the crowd this riled up was when King Herod rode into town. They all shouted as Herod rolled up with his sleek limousine and his fancy motorcade with their giant “Make Judea Great Again” banner. But something was different this time. It definitely didn’t seem like Herod. So I started asking people, “Who is this? Who’s coming into town?” And several people told me the same thing: “This is the prophet Jesus, the Son of David.” I don’t need to tell you that that’s a pretty big freaking deal!

So I pushed my way to the front of the crowd to try to see this Jesus guy for myself. I got there just as he was going by, and you will never believe what he was riding: a donkey, and a colt. I like don’t know even how he did it or why he did it, but that is not what I was expecting. I mean, Herod the King is all about luxury, you know, fancy cars and steaks and casinos, a palace dripping in gold, that kind of thing. And when he makes an entrance, he wants everyone to know that he is a rich, powerful king. But this Jesus guy, if he is a king, it’s like a totally different kind of power. It took some serious guts to make this grand, royal entrance into Jerusalem. He had to know that it would really tick Herod off, but he did it anyway. Maybe it is really true that he is the Son of David, the King of Israel. Could it be?

Jerúsalen siempre ha sido una ciudad de mucha vida, mucho movimiento, especialmente durante esta hora del día. Siempre hay gente pasando por todos lados. El aire está lleno de polvo y de las voces de los vendedores, gritando, “¡pescado fresco!” y “¡granados!” y “¡dátiles!” Hay mucho ruido y mucho calor. Estaba parado como normal en la esquina frente al supermercado, pidiendo dinero. Pero sentía que algo era diferente. Una gran multitud de gente estaba caminando hacia el portón de la ciudad. Nadie salía del supermercado, entonces decidí seguir a la gente a ver que pasaba.

Llegamos al portón, y ¡wow! La calle estaba repleta de gente. Estaban todos gritando y tirando sus mantos y unos ramos de palmas sobre el camino, como si prepararan la bienvenida de un rey. Muchos sacaban sus celulares y sus cámaras para tomar fotos y videos. Tú sabes como es. La última vez que vi a la gente tan animada fue cuando llegó el Rey Herodes a Jerusalén. Todos gritaron cuando entró el portón en su limusina con todo su séquito, y sus banderas de “Haz Judea grande otra vez.” Pero algo era diferente esta vez. Definitivamente no era Herodes. Entonces, empecé a preguntar a la gente, “¿Quien es que está llegando?” Y muchos me dijeron la misma cosa: “Es el profeta Jesús, el Hijo de David.”

jesus-mafa-palm-sundayPor fin, vi a él pasar. No tenía ningún limusina, sino estaba montado en una burra y un burrito. No sé como lo hizo, ni porque lo hizo, pero no es lo que esperaba. Digo, al Rey Herodes le gustan las cosas lujosas: carros deportivos y casinos y golf, un palacio cubierto de oro, cosas así. Y cuando él hace su entrada, quiere que todo el mundo y su madre sepan que es un rey poderoso y rico. Pero este Jesús, si es que es rey, parece ser poderoso de una manera muy diferente. Hizo su gran entrada en Jerusalén, sin miedo, y es obvio que no teme a los poderes de este mundo. Quizás la gente dice la verdad; quizás es el Hijo de David, el Rey de Israel. ¿Puede ser?

My head was swimming as we walked through the gate, into Jerusalem. I couldn’t believe how many people had started walking with us, and how many more there were waiting in the city! It was such a huge risk for Jesus to come back to Jerusalem, and I was terrified about what was going to happen. A couple of the twelve disciples told me that Jesus had started saying some really disturbing things about how he was going to be crucified by the Romans, but then “be raised up” somehow on the third day. But he was always bold in his ministry, and I had faith in him.

drk325802The crowds were incredible. There were businesspeople and slaves, homeless people and teenagers, prostitutes and tax collectors and stay-at-home mothers. They all lined the streets and waved their palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!” It was a welcoming truly fit for a king. And there was this moment – I don’t know if I can quite describe it. But Jesus was bending down to wave at a little girl standing on the sidewalk with her mother, and suddenly, this light struck him, and I felt like I really saw him for the first time. He was a poor man riding a borrowed donkey into Jerusalem, and he was a mighty and powerful king, the Son of God, the Messiah, coming to save us all. I had almost a vision of angels surrounding him, joining in the singing of the crowds, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” And his light reflected back onto the faces of the crowds, and I really saw them, too: the rich and the poor, the sick and the healthy, the undocumented, the immigrant, and the outcast. Jesus’ presence had transformed them into the beloved community, the kingdom of heaven, a truly welcoming city. Jesus joined us all together, singing with one voice, worshiping our God.

In that moment, I knew. I knew that there was nothing to fear. God had promised us a savior, a Messiah, and he had come. Jesus would be killed, and even though it seemed impossible, I knew he would be raised again. God had come to the world in flesh to defeat death itself and to save us all.

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! Amen.

Mi cabeza y mi corazón estaban llenos de emociones cuando entramos el portón de Jerusalén. No podía creer cuanta gente nos acompañaba y cuantos más nos esperaban en la ciudad. Era súper peligroso que Jesús regresara a Jerusalén, y me moría de miedo sobre lo que iba a pasar. Algunos discípulos de los 12 me dijeron que Jesús les había dicho algunas cosas perturbadoras: que iba a ser crucificado por los romanos, pero rescucitaría al tercer día. Sonaba imposible. Pero Jesús era así en su ministerio. No tenía miedo, y yo confiaba en él.

He-Qui-triumphal-entryLas multitudes eran increíbles. Habían empresarios y esclavos, adolescentes y gente sin hogar, prostitutas y publicanos y padres con sus hijos. Todos esperaban la llegada de Jesús; alzaban sus ramos y gritaban “¡Hosana!” Era una bienvenida digna de un rey. Y hubo un momento – no sé si lo puedo describir. Pero Jesús estaba saludando a una niña chiquita, que estaba en la banqueta con su mamá, y de repente, estuvo iluminado por una luz brillante, y era como si lo viera por primera vez. Era un hombre pobre, montado en una burra prestada, y a la vez era un rey poderoso, el Hijo de Dios, el Mesías, que vino para salvarnos todos. Tuve casi una visión de ángeles rodeándolo, cantando con las multitudes, “¡Hosana al Hijo de David! ¡Bendito el que viene en el nombre del Señor! ¡Hosana en las alturas!” Y su luz se reflejaba en las caras de las multitudes, y también era como si las viera por primera vez: los ricos y los pobres, los sanos y los enfermos, los indocumentados, los inmigrantes, y los marginados. La presencia de Jesús los había transformado en la comunidad amada, el reino de Dios, una ciudad santuario. Jesús nos unió y cantamos con una sola voz, alabando a nuestro Dios.

En ese momento, lo supe. Supe que no había que tener miedo. Dios nos prometió un salvador, un Mesías, y había llegado. Jesús morirá, y aunque parece imposible, sé que se rescucitará otra ves. Dios ha venido a este mundo en la carne para vencer a la muerte y para salvarnos todos.

¡Hosana al Hijo de David! ¡Bendito el que viene en el nombre del Señor! ¡Hosana en las alturas! Amén.

palm-sunday-an_african_jesus_christ_s_triumphal_entry_into_jerusalem_riding_on_a_donkey_to_the_enthusiasm_of_the_crowds

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