“Make disciples…and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
By Dr. Reggie Blount, Section Editor
Jesus Is Still Worthy of Our Praise
How many of you love a parade? There is so much energy and excitement at a parade. Many of us go to parades to see who’s in it. We like the floats. We like the bands. We like to see what celebrities or dignitaries will be featured. Some like going to parades just to see the people who’ve come out. We especially enjoy the kids get caught up in the excitement of it all.
When I was in high school and college I enjoyed being in the parade. In high school I was part of the ROTC drill team. It was great to march in the parade and do some tricks with rifles and other movements and get the attention and applause of the crowd. And when I attended Tuskegee University, it was nothing like being a part of the homecoming day parade. If you’ve never seen a black college homecoming parade, you’ve missed a treat. If it’s a great parade, it’s not hard to get caught up in the energy and excitement of it all.
In Luke 19:37-40 the Bible tells us when Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem, the atmosphere was like that of a parade. There was so much energy and so much excitement for this one entry in the parade…Jesus. The folks were not there to see each other. They were not there to see bands and floats. All the energy, all the excitement, and all the emotion were for one entry that entered Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. Jesus.
There was healing in the air. There was deliverance in the air. There was power in the air. There was salvation in the air. There was hope in the air. There was a possibility in the air.
Many in the multitude that lined the streets and covered the path with their cloaks and who cried out “Hosanna;” who cried out “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;” these were his disciples. These were his followers. These were the ones who believed he would be able to save them and rescue them.
Who were these disciples? These were folks who had seen, who had witnessed, who had experienced the miracle-working power of Jesus in their lives or in the lives of someone else. These disciples were fishermen, tax collectors, and Samaritans. These disciples were prostitutes, blind men, demoniacs, and cripples. These were disciples who knew what it meant to be oppressed. These were disciples who knew what it meant to suffer. These were disciples who knew what it meant to be a sinner. These were disciples who knew they had issues. They were disciples who knew and saw and experienced the miracles of Jesus in their lives and in the lives of others. And because of what they’ve seen, witnessed, and experienced, they couldn’t do anything else but praise Jesus in loud voices.
We have so much to lament today! Racism and oppressive discrimination against persons of color are at an all-time high. Perpetrators of misogyny and sexual harassment are rewarded through multi-million dollar buyouts. Lack of a compassionate and comprehensive immigration policy give license to rip families apart and send children back to places they never knew as home. Just the challenges of living life day-to-day give many of us a reason to lament and feel powerless.
But what if you could remember…what if you could remember just one miracle? What if you could remember just one miracle in your life that you know Jesus did it? It was Jesus you gave the credit for interceding and making it happen. If you can remember one, you might remember two…or three…or even four! And if you can remember, then healing will be in the air again. Deliverance will be in the air again. Salvation will be in the air again. Hope will be in the air again. And you will realize Jesus is still worthy of our praise!
Dr. Reggie Blount serves on the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as Assistant Professor of Formation, Youth and Culture. He teaches in the area of Youth Ministry, Christian Education and Congregational Leadership. He is also Pastor of Arnett Chapel AME Church in Chicago, Illinois. He speaks and teaches nationally and internationally helping faith communities envision new and creative ways to minister to, with, and in behalf of young people; engage in transformative Christian Education; and foster congregational and community renewal. He is a contributor in “Making God Real for a Next Generation: Ministry with Millennials Born from 1982 to 1999” (Discipleship Resources, 2003) and “Educating For Redemptive Community” (Wipf & Stock, 2015).