Speak Softly, and Carry a Big Jesus (Palm Sunday Thoughts)

(My youngest daughter – now 16 – made this at church in pre-K when she was 4. I’ve put it in this spot at Easter ever since)

Revelation 1:7-8…”Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Palm Sunday is one of my favorite church days of the year. I like the optimism. The party-like atmosphere. Normally, I write at this time of year about how nice it must have been for Jesus to have that one brief moment of mass love, knowing full well he was riding that humble donkey to the eventual cross. You see, the people of Jerusalem thought the Kingdom of God was coming NOW…right then…and Jesus was the Jewish King to toss aside the Romans from rule. They were elated. When they quickly discovered that wasn’t going to happen at all…well…you know the story. But that’s not what I’m going to write about this year.

This year, I’m more fixated on when Jesus actually is coming as the Lion and not the sacrificial lamb. Our world and my country of the United States, are in such dire condition, that I’ve gone from being once vocal in hoping to sort the mess out, to mostly quiet and placing all my hopes in – “Look, he is coming with the clouds.”

Speak softly, and carry a big Jesus.

I have a regimented morning routine that begins with coffee, my chair, and my iPad. That device having replaced the morning newspaper that used to be the ritual. I miss the newspaper, but nostalgia isn’t bringing that back. The news moves too fast now, and what was a big story in one hour, is ancient history in the next. I also miss the cold Dr. Pepper that used to be in the place of the coffee, but that went out the window a few years ago after my doctor gave me a choice of a fried pancreas or making some serious changes. In with the black coffee. Out with the pancreas destroying, but so delicious, Dr Pepper. I hate the coffee, but what are ya gonna do? A fried pancreas is not something I’m interested in owning. So, that’s the imagery of me every morning:

Hair going a 100 directions

My nice, comfy and manly leather chair with wide wooden arms

My black bear adorned cabin-decor style blanket

A piping hot cup of bitter black coffee

And my iPad to see what’s happening

I start with the social media’s first in no set order. Facebook for friends, family, and about a billion post shares of poorly constructed political propaganda that requires me to hit “hide” far more than actually enjoy the FB space. Instagram for what I call the “pleasant social media experience,” where I see images of beautiful geography, foods and various revelries. It’s nice. And the 3rd, the newspaper replacement – Twitter. Where I catch up with the news of the world that day. I follow certain sources for that information that I’ve screened over time to be fairly reliable. One of them is a White House Bureau Chief for Voice of America. I’m telling you the man never sleeps. Ever. He’s on top of everything. He can be surly at times (probably because he never sleeps) and has a bias like all media these days, but if something is happening, I’m going to hear about it from him first. So, on this day, I opened Twitter right off the bat. Mistake.

The first thing my mind absorbed, as the coffee burned down my throat and my eyes stirred awake, was a post from the bureau chief regarding our President and former Vice President smack talking about who would beat the other down. Wait, what??? Former Vice President Joe Biden (for the 2nd time now) said he would “beat the hell” out of Trump in “High School.” Let’s just leave the psychology of that statement there for a second while we continue. So in retort, the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, on Twitter, first thing in the morning, for the whole world to read, isn’t concerned about the overwhelming myriad of threats and problems facing us, but instead, posting a paragraph about how fast and easy he’d drop Biden in a fight, and that he’d make Biden cry. Wait…….what???

That’s insanity. Utter insanity. For those two men to not have the basic common sense to filter their words to match the great worldly power they’ve been entrusted with, is actually terrifying, psychotic, and at best, a complete lack of basic entry-level adult maturity. The big stick they carry has multiple hydrogen bombs attached to it…you would think we might not put that stick in the hands of 70 year olds still pretending they’re in the high school parking lot about to rumble. What stick do I have to protect me from those maniacs? It’s hard to shock me these days, and to others maybe this story only gives a shrug, but if you really think about the psychology of it matched with the position – MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE ON EARTH – well, it’s shocking. Color me shocked.

I’m writing about it here only as an example. I post very little about politics these days. I’ve long been coached by the wisdom of Proverbs to stay mostly silent on these matters, than to speak out and be made a fool. It’s what is next in my routine after the perusing of the social media’s that actually has value, and also where I find my big stick.

I’m finished with my bitter black 2 cups of coffee. Now it’s on to the much more enjoyable fresh Florida Orange Juice, and usually (2) plain mini bagels buttered slightly and microwaved for 35 seconds for optimum softness. Why 35 seconds? Because that’s the formula my oldest daughter taught me who is the one that created this breakfast. 35 it is! I follow directions. Then, I swallow the low dose blood pressure pill (prescribed by the same Doc that wants to preserve my pancreas), and an assortment of many vitamins that supposedly do all the things a 50 plus year old’s body needs to have. And then…it’s prime time. Scripture study! The big stick. Jesus. The man on the white horse that’s coming to save us from the maniacs.

That’s where my faith resides. My hope. My dreams. My everything. Those things surely aren’t placed within the whims of immature filthy rich earthly brats squabbling over who will beat the hell out of the other. I’ve placed 100% of myself into the faith that Jesus Christ was who he said he was. That the cross took my sins and punishment, and I’m now redeemed. That he is risen! Death has been conquered. And that he’s coming back! Not as a lamb on a humble donkey. Nope. Ain’t going down like that on the return…

Revelation 19: 11-16…I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

king of kings and lord of lords.

This Palm Sunday and Holy Week through Easter…Speak Softly, and Carry a Big Jesus.

His is risen. And his is coming back.

Gary Abernathy

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