In this week of marches and protests, I’ve been thinking about activists. Why does it feel scary to join in? In contrast to so many other times in history and places around the world, we are free in this country to gather, to protest, to march. The worst that could happen to us is an arrest; in other regimes we could be tortured or killed if we gathered to walk the streets with signs or if we shouted slogans and asked for change.
These words from Luke 19 about Palm Sunday seem particularly fitting today.
“…they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
I imagine a woman in that crowd, I try to put myself in her shoes. She was likely illiterate; her culture would not have valued her; it was a time of oppression and fear. Hailing allegiance to Jesus would have been a defiant, brave act.
Even Stones Cry Out
As I walked they thrust palms in my hand
so close I could touch Him
and the mangy ass.
For once I did
a brave thing, too
called out King
I had never heard the sound of my voice so lifted, loud.
I took off my coat, put it down.
Scared as shit, I
joined the throng
We moved through streets
all of us caught up in
Caesar’s guards watched
blood hungry, spears ready
This is no place for risk
I live in confines
I breathe under the weight of ugly rules.
When I go back for my coat will they take me?
Strange how this Jesus
gives me what I cannot give myself
how He makes me more than I am
Photos courtesy of Karen Heyse