Lest we forget: Ryan White died on Palm Sunday, 1990

Isa. 50: 4 - 9a

If we begin reading from v.1, we find that, at v.4, the Prophet starts talking about himself; this is his testimopny of faith and trust in God. The preceding ten chapters provide no personal history, but we may surmise that, as with Jeremiah, [2]Isaiah also was scorned and suffered for his words. And like Jeremiah, he did not run away (5) From insult and spittle (6).

So strong is the Prophet's faith in God's help that he can challenge those who would flog and tear out hair (6):

This last strikes home, especially for Christians who would transfer the Prophet's words into the mouth of our Lord. Jesus did not (usually) speak in such vehement terms as the Prophets; rather, He said: Follow me. (Mk. 1:17, 2:14, 8: 34, 10:21, et al.) That sounds better; this is a voice we would gladly heed. At least until we recall that the Way of our Lord leads to the cross.

Psalm 31: 9 - 16

Christians can readily imagine Jesus thinking, praying these words as He wends His way toward Jerusalem and the cross. But then what do we do with the next verse? Shall we exercise our "God-given right" to pick and choose lines at will?

I do not think that we have any "God-given right" to pick and choose, although we are both adept at, and inclined toward, the practice. No, I think we have to take Scripture in its entirety, just as it comes to us. And when we do so with this Psalm, we are confronted with a choice: either to accept that Jesus was guilty of iniquity, or that this Psalm cannot be put on His lips.

If these words are not applicable to Jesus, then to whom, besides the Psalmist? It should not take much imagination to realize that these are our words, yours and mine. As we wander away from our encounter with the Almighty at Sinai and trudge into and through the wilderness of this earthly life, we find that we have deep need to petition God for mercy.

And we may rest assured that we will receive it if, IF we can pray with sincerity of heart:

Is it not remarkable how often this concept of trust in God keeps popping up? Wonder why?

Philippians 2: 5 - 11

Notice how Paul introduces this glorious, inspiring paean to Jesus: Take to heart among yourselves what you find in Christ Jesus (5). Jesus is our model, our paradigm; and the Apostle pleads, urges, implores us to learn what this means: Follow me.

[A]t the name of Jesus every knee should bow... and every tongue acclaim, "Jesus Christ is Lord," to the glory of God the Father. (10..11) But obeisance and acclamation are not enough. Read the next line as if Jesus were speaking: So you too, my friends, must be obedient, as always; even more, now that I am absent, than when I was with you. (12)

What does Jesus-- or Paul, even-- mean by instructing us to be obedient? Does this refer to strict adherence to the Commandments and all the rules and regulations laid down both in Scripture and by the Church?

Is obedience "holding one's ground", even at the threat of flogging? Or is it something more? Consider the hymn, "Trust and Obey". Are these two terms complementary, or equivalent?

Mk. 11: 1 - 11 or Jn. 12: 12 - 16

In both these familiar stories, we read about the people's great shouts of acclamation, not far different from that cited by Paul. But acclamation, praise and waving palm branches are not enough. That is why I suggest reading more of John, for there we find the people's motives. They wanted Jesus to give the blind sight, make the lame walk, cleanse the lepers, restore hearing to the deaf, raise the dead to life (Mat. 11: 5) and to be the king like David (Mk. 11:10) who would drive the Romans out of their land.

So what's wrong with that? Well, you can almost hear what they are not shouting: "And leave me out of it!" They wanted somebody-- anybody-- else to do it, to make a change for the better in their lives and society. But what did our Lord say? Follow me. "You do it. God will give you the wisdom and strength; don't worry about that. Trust me."

1. 1 Haiku poem by Phil Gilman. Please feel free to utilize anything from these pages; just give God the Glory, Praise and Thanks and me whatever credit may be due.

(comments to Phil at ENAPXH@aol.com )