Thought for the Week by Rev Bill Armstrong (Retired)

Have you ever joined a protest march, or written a tetchy letter to a newspaper, or even surprised your friends by standing out from the crowd, taking a stance which may seem to be out of character?

Many years ago, and for the first time in my life, I did such a thing when I joined the march in Glasgow against the impending war in Iraq; I was joined by one of my elders who was similarly concerned. The memory was stirred by the Pope’s recent visit to Iraq.

The route was from George Square in the city, ending in a rally outside the SECC. No doubt the march had been arranged for that day and place when the then leader of the Labour Party, Tony Blair, was due to address the Labour Party Conference. The chant rose that he should come out and meet the protesters, but he escaped by another way; and the rest is history.

Had you been in Jerusalem the day Jesus rode into the city a donkey, would you have been in the cheering crowd or keeping your head down, half-hidden at a safe distance. Christians call that day Palm Sunday.

Jesus was making a pointed statement and taking a grievous risk. He was showing his hand. The city was in an uproar. His followers shouted: ‘Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’, proclaiming him as King. They carpeted the ground with their cloaks, just as today a red carpet is laid out for the Queen when she arrives at some significant place for some significant purpose.

For Jesus, Jerusalem was that significant place, and his that significant purpose; he was making the declaration that he was the Son of God. It was a joyous day for his followers, but those who were against him, particularly the religious leaders shouted abuse from the sidelines.

Have you ever taken a deliberate stand against something you thought to be wrong, stepping beyond the boundaries of cosy Christianity? Have you ever thought to share publicly your Christian perspective on matters of the moment?