Zoo parking was fierce today. It didn't occur to us that it is Spring Break and sunny and a Saturday. After a lovely visit at the zoo, we were blocked in by two cars equally convinced they were first waiting for our spot. We were at the end of the row and they both crawled close until our three vehicles were inches from one another. Sharp words were spoken. We stayed out of it and anticipated a battle, but alas one party gave in and angrily drove away.
I've been thinking about rights lately. What rights do I feel I have? A right to be treated a certain away? To opportunities or freedoms? To being happy? To the parking spot I called? How does our country and context present us a new philosophy, spoken or unspoken, about rights. Are these from God?
It's Palm Sunday weekend and I've been a little excitedly fixated by having a live donkey joining us at church in the morning. "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me" (Matthew 21:2). How striking, and embarrassing even, to imagine the King of kings trotting into Jerusalem on a baby donkey. Certainly not the anticipate political king bringing judgement and warfare. this was an act of peace; this was the ultimate release of rights. This was love.
It was hectic and emotionally-charged over the days of Passover under Roman rule. Jews gathered to celebrate the ancient story of their people's rescue by Yahweh. It is in this time that Jesus enters. A King who comes in peace, not war. Common people threw down
their cloaks, bringing tree scraps and heartfuls of hope to spread on the ground he would trot over. Hosanna. Save us Son of David. Hosanna. And He would save. He would give up his right to live, the only human unmarred by sin with legitimate a claim.
It is with this sacrifice in mind that I consider our society, and my everyday life. Certainly we have things to fight for -- justice, love, peace, life. And we have much to surrender. It's not only aspects of morality or speech, it's the invisible deities of control and independence and time that I struggle to lay down. The concept of releasing rights or surrender gives Christ-followers a bad rap a lot of times. Of course, these criticisms point to a right's based agenda which permeates our culture. Yet what is often unpacked is all that releasing rights to God invites: salvation beyond soul-saving, truth, inner peace, hospitality, clear-mindedness, rest, relational possibilities, clarity, hope, transformation, goodness, full and extraordinary living. It's good but hard. Right but hard. Life-giving but hard. We need Jesus to help us live in his Way.