An excerpt from Nate’s Palm Sunday sermon, “Two Parades” (this was not the title listed in the bulletin, because he wrote it after he thought of the title. But this is the title now!). It was a dramatic monologue written from the perspective of a young Roman male, living in Jerusalem.
From “Two Parades”
The whole parade passed by so quickly.
Half an hour, maybe forty five minutes.
Then Yeshua was out of sight…
And we were left standing there with our dusty palm branches, in our undershirts.
Only later did I hear about some of the Pharisees and high priests, who intercepted him closer to downtown.
I heard about the strange word they used, to talk about his followers.
What was that, a “disciple”?
I went for a long walk, as the adrenaline wore off.
Finally, early that evening, I got back to my neighborhood.
I ran into my sister on the sidewalk, hanging out with her friends.
“Where’s your fancy cloak?” she teased me. “Why is your face so dusty?”
“Maybe he got into a fight,” one of her friends said.
“Maybe he gave it away to one of his girlfriends.”
I asked them if they’d gone to see Pontius Pilate’s parade. They had.
“It was just like last year,” she said.
“Only, he seemed a little more nervous for some reason.
“So did the High Priests.
“And we counted more soldiers than ever.”
“And then, at the end of the ceremony,” she said…
“They wheeled a huge war chariot into the middle of the square.
Its cannons were loaded and pointed.
It had scars and dents from previous battles.
And dried blood you could see, still crusted on the wheels.
And they just left it there.”
It’s a few days later now. The middle of the week.
Our Jewish neighbors are in the middle of their festival.
You can hear the music, and smell the good food through the windows in the neighborhood.
And all the people I saw at Yeshua’s parade, we are back to our routines, more or less.
The mother is selling wares at the market.
The teacher leading classes. The beggar under the bridge.
And from what I hear, that war chariot still sits in the center of our city square.
I’ve been thinking about that strange word: disciple.
And when I remember back to what I felt on Sunday…
I wonder what it would take, for someone to call me that word.
Every day, I pass by more soldiers at the intersection.
And sometimes I see the Temple leaders talking with them.
Gesturing anxiously. Nodding.
Once, one of them noticed me watching. I got nervous for a second.
And then they saw I was a Roman. And they relaxed, and nodded at me.
There were two parades in my city that day.
I wonder, which one did I really attend?
And when I look around at the society in my midst…
My family. My friends…
My neighbors we have business with…
The children playing in the streets. Pretending to march like generals…
I wonder too, which parade are we part of, right now?