Today, we woke up to about an inch or two of snow on the ground. Ahh, April in Minnesota. It was all gone by early afternoon. We went for a walk around the lake by our place.
This morning in church we had a guest speaker: Gerrie Lubbe, the Director of the Desmond Tutu Diversity Trust from South Africa. On reflection of the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., he preached being a "somebody."
Dr. Lubbe met with Jesse Jackson many years ago. Jesse Jackson asked him who he was and Gerrie Lubbe replied, "I'm just a small fry" (he's actually a man of decent stature). Jesse Jackson grasped him and said, "You are a somebody."
We are all somebodies. Isaiah 43:4 says, "Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you." In that chapter God talks about how he would give up Egypt, Cush & Seba (all were nations known for their considerable wealth in that time) as ransom for His people. For us all, though, He gave His Son.
I was reflecting on how even though I don't intend to I still put people in a box when I see them. I too easily label them as suburbanites who are trying to gain the whole world or trouble-makers with lots of tattoos or as parents who would rather spoil their children than give them loving discipline. I would probably have been the pharisee who prayed, "Thank you, God, that I'm not like that sinner." The reality is that I'm a sinner in need of God's grace, just as lowly and just as important as anyone else in God's eyes. I need to remember the Jesus prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." And I need to remember that He does. Because He loves me.
As Dr. Lubbe reminded us today, "I am deeply loved by the Lord Jesus Christ. I did not earn it, and I do not deserve it." But that makes me a somebody. And if I am a somebody, I can't keep it to myself. Our task is to make room for people to be people. And people can only be people if they know that God has made them a somebody.
I may have missed children coming in with palm leaves, singing "Hosanna," but it was Palm Sunday nonetheless. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey being hailed as King, He did so to remind us that His Kingdom wasn't going to be like any other kingdom on earth. He wasn't in a regal procession with guards and trumpeters and courtiers. He came humbly, on His way to the hill where He would give up His life for us. And as much as Palm Sunday is about Jesus, it is also about us, because in His Kingdom we are all somebodies. Even a nobody like me.