Thursday, March 26, 2015

Palm Sunday and Basketball

From the intentional interim pastor
March 26, 2015

            If you lived in Indiana today, you would be reading about the 25th anniversary of a high school basketball game where over 41,000 people came to watch a senior in high school play.  His name is Damon Bailey and he and his school from Bedford were in Indianapolis to play in Indiana’s state championship*.  I was one of those fans.
            We Hoosiers came to hear about Damon when he was in the 8th grade and Indiana University coach Bobby Knight started talking about him.  In 1990 Damon joined the IU basketball team as a freshman and we loved him even more.  That was a fun four years.
            In 1994 the NBA draft was in Indianapolis and I was there when Damon was drafted in the 44th round by the Indiana Pacers.  The place went wild.  However, Damon was a better high school and college player than he was a professional one and didn’t make the team.  Today he is the assistant coach of Butler University’s women’s basketball team.  We had higher dreams for him, but all is well and we are proud of this local boy “who did good.”  What a difference 25 years makes.
            What does this story have to do with Palm Sunday? 
            The palms have been delivered to the church.  On Sunday we will gather in the courtyard and enter the sanctuary together waving the palm branches celebrating Palm Sunday – Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
            Palm Sunday is the day that brings us into Holy Week.  I love that, for a little while, people waved the branches and celebrated.  However, they also waited for Jesus to start throwing candy, and when he didn’t their enthusiasm waned. Things changed drastically.  The people lining the streets to watch the parade went home.
            In the Gospel of Luke 19:28-44, Jesus rode into Jerusalem, but when he saw the city, he wept for what was yet to come.
            What a difference a week made. 
            Damon played for the largest crowd ever gathered for a high school basketball game. He didn’t become the greatest basketball player of all time, but he went on to be a happy, healthy young man who contributes to our world.
            Jesus stepped out in faith to follow God’s bidding.  He spent three years with the disciples and the people who were interested in hearing what he had to say.  Because he didn’t do all that the people expected him to do, things changed drastically, and history was altered for everyone.
            I hope you will join us on Sunday for Palm Sunday, and the other Holy Week events we have planned.  It is an opportunity to re-experience the life of Jesus, to be part of the crowd and walk with him on his journey to the cross.

Prayers for the journey,
Pastor Peg

* In those days Indiana didn’t have a class system for the state championships.  Little schools played big schools – hence, the movie “Hoosiers” where a small school won the whole thing.  True story, except instead of it being Hickory, Indiana, the town was Milan.