A Reflection on Palm Sunday and Election Season

A Reflection on Palm Sunday and Election Season April 13, 2019

As we near Easter weekend, my neck of the woods is in the midst of a provincial election. I’ve noticed many fellow Christians have grumbled about how the government cares little for religious days of obligation. But in reflection of Palm Sunday, it suddenly dawned on me the timing of the election couldn’t be more appropriate.

For those unfamiliar with Catholic feast days, Palm Sunday celebrates the moment Jesus was welcomed by the people of Jerusalem. The passage in Scripture describing the Triumphant Entry is as follows:

And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Beth′phage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If any one says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of an ass.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Matthew 21:1-11 RSV

It is believed the same people who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem were the ones who scoffed Him during His passion. After Jesus was arrested, put to trial and sentenced to death by crucifixion, it seems the people’s loyalty suddenly changed within the Passover week. Although He had upset the scribes and high priests for revealing Himself to be the Son of God, He had done nothing wrong to warrant such a horrific punishment.

In comparison to the Triumphant Entry, there seems to be a total paradox in politics. It seems everyone who shows loyalty to their preferred party welcomes their candidates with open arms. They’ll show up at rallies, chant and wave banners for the one who will supposedly lead everyone into a hopeful (or dismal) future.

In Alberta, we had 40-year conservative government before people were finally fed up enough to vote in the New Democrats – a reality almost unimaginable until four years ago. It seems those who have shown unwavering loyalty to their party of choice are more likely to excuse their candidate’s shortcomings and bad behavior as long as it means not siding with the opposition. Sometimes people will cling on to their leaders for years before they suddenly realize they were in denial. Then the tides turn and a shiny, new, young leader steals the spotlight with the same old rhetoric. Then, lo and behold, the cycle continues.

I find it interesting how human nature habitually puts their faith and hope into other humans to provoke change. But in the case of Jesus, I think it’s reasonable to believe people wanted Him crucified because He spoke the truth. Politicians will lie, cheat, steal, swindle and blame their opposition in order to save face. Jesus, on the other hand, remained silent in trial and accepted the sentence that was given. A quality impossible to find among the politicians of our time.

As the election looms ahead, I realize I am not voting for someone who has everyone’s best interests in mind. Much rather, based on my own values and convictions, I feel I am voting for a lesser evil. You won’t find me waving banners or rolling carpets for my representatives, but I’ll be sure to pray that my vote will count in the broader scheme of things.

And I hope, God willing, whoever is elected will carry our society safely into the next four years.

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