I don’t speak away from home very often. I’m not a traveler. I teach the same people often rather than doing one-night stands. But I have been away enough to know that I like to check out places where I will speak. I like to stand on the stage, walk through the room, see what people will see.
Sometimes I even do that in familiar places if the conversation will be difficult. I want to be comfortable in the space.
Reading in Mark the other day, I watched Jesus do that same kind of walk.
It was right after the big Palm Sunday parade.
The crowd that had followed him to Jerusalem got lost in the crowd that was Jerusalem. The narrow city streets stretched the “Hosanna” from a loud shout to a scattered “Ho .. excuse me … sanna ..pardon me .. Peter, wait up.”
At the end of the parade Jesus slid off the colt. Mark writes, “Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.”
Right place, wrong time for big dramatic speeches, table turning, confrontive healings. During the next week there will be debates and noise and betrayals. But on this night it was enough to quietly look around and then head off for a late supper with friends and sleep.
Sometimes we think that following Jesus is big events. We think that we have to do something “spiritual” all the time. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is to be fully human, completely time-bound, sleepy. Sometimes the most Jesus-following thing we can do is to wait and rest in a safe place among friends. Even, or perhaps especially, when we are facing the worst week of our life.