Tomorrow America will receive into the highest political office Mr. Donald John Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America. This event has many people divided in how they behold the future of America.
The majority of Americans view this inauguration through the various lenses of national security, medical health-care, economic vitality, the environment, and/or America’s global military presence.
This is written not to persuade, condemn, support, or reject any of those perspectives. I view this seismic shift in our nation’s history through another lens. One attributed to a history-making moment when a humble and quiet man also ascended to the role of global influence.
What seems like a clip from a children’s Bible story-book, reads of a distant trail leading down and then up to the city gates of an ancient city in North Africa. It was an integral military outpost of the geopolitical presence of Rome.
It was upon this well-worn trail used by the marginalized common-folk of Israel, that history accounts of a wandering group of mystical men and women; who now had become somewhat notable among the inhabitants of this limestone filled region. Their journey was revolutionary – and the crowd knew it.
Tomorrow feels like that for many Americans. People across this nation are celebrating the arrival of their revolutionary figure – along with his ban of mythic disciples. Many of these patriotic people are looking back to an era when their narrative was couched in nationalistic pride; very similar to those Palestinian natives who squatted, or lay under the cool shade of Olive and Palm trees which lined in small clusters leading down from Mount Olivet.
Jesus moves along this trail as a stark contrast to how we as His disciples are confirmed to be missional figures in society. His entry will contrast Himself with every other leader and proclaimed king forever. As well as the crowd that celebrated Him with those that celebrate other kings.
To see this contrast clearer we look to the prophetic description of Zechariah 9:9
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
We are given a clear picture of how the King of every king is postured as He walks out the prescribed destiny of His Heavenly Father. It is a posture of quiet, benign resolve and focus. He is not easily distracted by the throng of witnesses who learn of His appearing. A presence intentionally turned towards obscurity. Even when the crowd celebrates His entrance, His response is fixed upon the Temple where He will soon enter as Prophet and Priest.
One cannot help but imagine Jesus recalling the close of His first documented Sermon on a Mount. A sermon where He compels the crowd to “enter in through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction. And there are many who choose it.”
For the way of humility is indeed the least chosen path. And never the way of an earthly king who is lauded by the masses – who will soon identify themselves with him.
It is commonly understood by social psychologist that there is a distinction between those who are caught up in a mass movement – a crowd – than those who remain in a place of individualized authenticity. Those persons who are of the broad way – the way of the crowd – are prone to follow a charismatic, idealized, faulty person. Adolph Hitler, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and many others are a good examples.
But the enthusiasm of the crowd is short-lived. Even the crowd that celebrated Jesus, in seven days would be transformed into a riotous mass demanding a Zealot robber & murderer be freed; forfeiting the life of Jesus.
John A. Sanford suggests
“Crowds, have a collective mentality that extinguishes individual awareness. The collective mind of a crowd has shallow roots and is easily swayed; for this reason crowds readily become destructive and even become the instruments of evil. This is especially true if the crowd projects an image of Self onto a power-ridden individual who wants to use the crowd for his egocentric purposes.”
We can learn it was because of Jesus’ profound display of humility that enabled the ensuing crowd to respond as it did – in humble, sublime, loving worship and adoration – because the focus of the crowd was Jesus.
The crowd became the foci of its attention. As the crowd projected its attention onto Jesus’ benign and humble Person, no selfish or evil intent projected from it.
I implore the Church to regain the essence of this posture displayed by our Leader and the One in whom our attention should be placed – Jesus of Nazareth. Thereby creating the atmosphere we believe our Savior would desire for all people.
This peaceful and loving, self-donating and compassionate posture can only be acquired by inviting Holy Spirit to transform our minds through Christian Meditative prayer. Remember – the evening before in the garden – it was such a prayer practiced that prepared Jesus for this moment of triumphal entry.
I have learned that the true path of life is lived in a personal, individualized, re-orienting of one’s self-worth and self-actualization that can not be found in the crowds, but only as we are silent and still in Christ presence.
We in the contemporary church have lost this dimension of Christ’s awakening within us. But it’s not too late. We can and surely must regain our bearings which will lead us through the narrow gate and along the difficult path within the Way of Life where we will surely discover the fullness of life and pleasures forever.
May God’s Blessings; myriad and mighty; become realized for all, especially America.
ΑΩ ~ A. David Griffin, MDiv