On April 7, Cher and I had the privilege of attending Day 1 of Tournament Play at the Masters! The day began with the excitement of watching two legends of golf tee off: Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. They had the honor of starting off the 75th Masters by hitting the first golf balls. Besides Cher and I, close to 10,000 other people witnessed the pair of golf greats.
It was quite a reception. Everyone wants to get close to famous people. Imagine the reception a sports team gets in its hometown after winning a major championship. The parades. The fanfare. The key to the city. TV coverage.
That’s the kind of scene you can envision happening on Palm Sunday 2000 years ago to celebrate the arrival of the Christ as Jesus when he entered Jerusalem. It came without TV coverage or a key to the city, but the fanfare and parade were real enough.
The event is recorded in all 4 Gospels (Matt. 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12) so let’s start with a paraphrased account of the Gospel stories.
When they were on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Jesus sent two disciples to find a donkey of all things for him to ride on. He told them, “Untie the donkey and bring it to me. Relax guys, I’m not asking you to steal, for Heaven sakes! However, if anyone has a problem about you taking it, say ‘I need it to make my grand entrance’ and they will let you have the donkey.
The disciples did as Jesus instructed and, didn’t have any trouble getting the donkey out of Jerusalem. When they got to Jesus they put their designer cloaks (you know, the ones with the sign of the fish logos on them) on the donkey, and He sat on them.
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. (John’s Gospel says they took palm branches and Luke doesn’t say anything about cut branches.)
The crowds stood closer to Jesus than Cher and I were allowed to stand next to Arnold and Jack. The crowd shouted, “Yea, Jesus. Hosanna to the Son of David!” (John’s Gospel says the crowd shouted, “Do not be afraid, your king is coming.” It also says that many in the crowd had seen Him raise Lazarus from the dead and had seen other signs of His authority.)
They probably had the same expectations as Judas. Here he was. Their Savior. The one who would save them from Rome. Shortly after his triumphant entrance Jesus entered the temple and drove out all the telemarketers. He had a busy Palm Sunday.
Let’s see how his Great Entrance relates to us from a Unity perspective by metaphysically interpreting the event:
- Jerusalem represents our abiding consciousness of inner peace
- Jesus, at this stage in his ministry, represents the mature awareness of our Christ nature.
- Donkey represents meekness, and a willingness to surrender to our Christ nature.
- Palms signify spiritual strength, receptivity and enthusiasm
- Crowds usually refer to multitudes of material thoughts that are close to being raised to their higher spiritual essences
- Hosannas represent the harmonious energies within us that sense freedom from error thoughts.
- Trip to Jerusalem represents our intention to erase (crucify) our attachment to the temptations of sense consciousness
- Temple symbolizes our spiritually revitalized ego personality
- Driving out the moneychangers (the telemarketers) represents the cleansing of our body, mind, and soul of error thoughts, habits, and intentions.
So, from a Unity perspective here’s what the Palm Sunday experience represents. It is our conscious surrender to our innate divinity. It reawakens our childlike faith. Initially, it stirs the entire consciousness (city in turmoil) and we sense there is something wonderful at work, but do not yet quite understand the full implications.
This ‘depth charge of inner quickening’ intensifies and leads to the process of inner transformation and cleansing. That’s what Jesus’ driving the moneychangers out of the temple means metaphysically. Unity calls this purification process chemicalization.
The power of Spirit helps us rid ourselves of old tapes and negative programming, obsolete beliefs, and habits that no longer serve our greater good.
This purging, this chemicalization, prepares us to embrace that deeper, more authentic aspect of us called our Christ Self. It is truly a transforming experience. One that readies us to make a grand entrance into the next level of our being: our Christhood!