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East Harwich, MA 02645
The Rock Concert
10 April 2022
The Rev. Dr. Dianne ES Carpenter
You are probably wondering why I have a bucket of rocks this morning. Well, I thought it would be a good idea for us to have a “rock concert”. I see some of you are smiling. Don’t you believe these rocks could sing? Do you think they could even talk? Do you think they could tell you stories about Jesus? Well, you might be surprised to hear what Jesus himself had to say about that.
Jesus was walking with his disciples toward Jerusalem. When they approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he called two of his disciples to him and said, “Go into the next village where you will find a young donkey. Bring it to me. If anyone asks why you are taking the donkey, just tell them, ‘The Lord needs it.'”
The disciples did as they were told and brought the young donkey to Jesus. They threw their garments over it so that Jesus could ride on him.
As he rode along, crowds were lining the streets and they began praising Jesus and shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” They were creating quite a stir and some of the religious leaders didn’t like it. They asked Jesus to keep his followers quiet. Jesus answered them and said, “If they remain silent, the stones would immediately begin to cry out!”
Palm Sunday usually focuses on the Parade… the arrival of Jesus and the recognition of his presence by people who spot him as he enters the city of Jerusalem during the preparations for the High Holy days of Passover.
Think of the lead-up to the big televised parades for Thanksgiving and the Rose Bowl….everyone is anticipating the floats and the celebrities.
However, the throngs of people are not in Jerusalem for Jesus and His disciples or following after Him, but when He is spotted they are enthusiastic and the news spreads quickly. Jesus knew this might happen so instead of walking in the milling crowd he orchestrates an appropriate entry reminiscent of the anticipated Messiah from the Book of Zechariah – A Prince of Peace who in His humble entry is the exact opposite of a conquering warlord.
But the people begin calling Him their King and shouting cries of “Save Us” and these outbursts are paramount to publicly objecting to the Roman Occupation. This is perhaps why some of the Pharisees in the crowd have reason to be concerned. “Shut them up before the Romans hear people calling on You to initiate a Rebellion!”
Jesus answered them and said, “If they remain silent, the stones would immediately begin to cry out!”
I don’t know if you remember the craze of “pet rocks” – They were the perfect pet- you could name it, take it with you, caress it…
With a society of stones- there would never be social critique- from the right or the left…
Stone is the heart of our planet. We ride a giant rock in space. The sand of our beaches is pulverized rock. The Grand Canyons are formed by waters carving their way through the stone revealing millennia of creation- stones the silent sentries of time.
Rocks make an impression in each generation. Rocks are solid. Jesus referred to Peter as THE ROCK on which he would build his church. …..
If these rocks would cry out this morning, I wonder what they would say? One might tell how a little shepherd boy named David used a small stone to slay a giant to show that we can do anything when God is with us!
Another might tell how the prophet Elijah used stones to build an altar to God. The altar was used to offer a sacrifice to God to prove that He was the one, true God not BAAL.
Jacob used a stone for a pillow as he fled his brother’s wrath – only to have a dream of a ladder to heaven- when he awoke he stood the stone up and poured oil on it and called the place Bethel – House of God – the stone became an altar of devotion.
This rock might tell how Solomon had used stones to build a beautiful temple for people to worship God.
This stone might have waited for someone to pick it up and hurl it at the adulterous woman only to be picked up by a little girl and slipped into her bag for later use.
Still another rock might remind us that Jesus once told a story about a wise man who built his house upon a rock. When the storms came, the house on the rock stood firm.
Yes, these stones might have a lot of stories to tell. However, the answer of Jesus to the Pharisees was If people are silent and unwilling or unable to Praise the Lord, the stones… The Primal creation matter that is chipped from the mantle of the earth
The hard hearted means of punishment
[as in stoning people to death]
The potential Holy Altars of our Lives
Will Praise the Lord
Who among us have hearts of stone ?
Are we unwilling to trade our ENGINES OF INDUSTRY that destabilize the rock of our planet for fossil fuels for ecologically sound practices and products-
Are we unwilling to trade our ladders of success for gardens of manna sufficiently distributed to feed God’s people
In a society of stones there arise voices crying out. Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., T.S. Eliot, ….….. even we can become the beloved pet rocks of Jesus – His imitators – His champions of a Peaceable Kingdom and part of the foundation for which Jesus the Christ is the cornerstone!
To our God belongs honor and praise and glory
The people were not silenced
Just as the followers of Jesus lined the streets to praise their King, you and I are here today to praise our Messiah. As long as we tell the Good News of an alternative Kingdom of Peace and Justice… As long as we praise him, there will be no need for these stones to cry out. And I would suggest that we make truly beautiful proclamations when we Praise the Lord in Concert. I am using the term the way it was used in “Concerts of prayer” invitations… When we refuse to be silenced and we make beautiful harmony together our offering is Good Enough.
Our Jewish brothers and sisters are celebrating Passover beginning on the 15th– Good Friday – just as they were at the passion and crucifixion of our Lord. Jesus becomes for us the exodus from slavery unto sin and the acceptable offering.
Dear Lord, we know that you would rather hear us praise you than to hear a “rock concert.” So Lord, we lift your name on high! Amen.
2088 Lord we lift Your Name on High
Luke 19:28-40 New International Version
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[a]
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”