This morning we woke up at 6am. Normally when I’m getting up that early on a Sunday it’s because I’m heading off to a church service. Today we were heading off to a Cheerleading competition that my little niece Avery was in. I have to be honest, I was skeptical about going. I’m a boy (in case you didn’t know) and I grew up going to baseball, soccer, and softball tournaments. Manly stuff. Where men and women were yelling things like, “Be more aggressive Johnny” or “Keep your eye the ball Billy!” or “Good Eye”. Things that under normal circumstances one probably wouldn’t say…well, I guess it depends on your job. If your an optometrist…I digress.
Like I was saying, this cheerleading thing was way out of my scope of normal. Dads wearing pink. Mom’s applying masses of makeup. Normal people blowing horns, shaking noisemakers, and cheering like we were vikings getting ready to go to war. Except this was for 4-8 year old junior cheerleaders!
After about 45 minutes my culture shock began to wear off. I think it was in part because I asked God to help me with it. I was beginning to get bugged by all the hooplah, and I just didn’t get it. On top of that, the ‘good Christian’ was feeling a bit of guilt for not being at a church service on Palm Sunday. So I prayed. I asked God to help me see this with Kingdom eyes…and they were opened.
Instead of seeing little girls way too done up for their age (except my niece, who looked beautiful!) I was seeing little girls who were being esteemed and valued. And it wasn’t just the ‘perfect’ ones or the ones that we would say did a good job. They even did the ultimate American thing: Gave every girl a ‘first-place’ trophy. The quasi-European in me balked big time at this. This is just not realistic in the real world. But in a bizarre, Kingdom way, it’s perfectly normal to believe that all are going to be given first place trophies some day. I guess when you ask for Kingdom eyes…things jump out.
So Jesus was entering into Jerusalem. A king riding on a donkey. Bringing both judgment, yet hope for those who would join His way. Creation was just days away from Jesus initiating the beginning of the re-creation of all things. Love, beauty, laughter, joy, celebration are all significant qualities of the Kingdom that I follow Jesus into. And I choose to join this new creation (and be a new creation) that he put into effect on that Palm Sunday years ago. Today, I cheered for little girls in red glittery outfits as if my voice and laughter could somehow, in someway, be Kingdom-music to their ears. To be a pre-cursor to the Kingdom music that they’ll hear from Jesus himself when they all, I pray, meet Him.
So, here’s to Palm Sunday, and cheering for the little ones in whom we see the Kingdom!
***Oh…and photo credit has to go to Jen…who is a great photographer!