Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

Fooled By Cheers

Listen to the Sermon or the Entire Service

March 29:

Fooled By Cheers
(originally to be titled "Its Theirs and Ours")
Call:       Mark 11: 1-11
Reading:    W&S 21
Readings:   Mark 11: 15-19;
        Mark 14: 12-26;     Mark 14:43-52
        Mark 14: 66-71      Mark 15: 22-29
        Mark 15: 42-47

            Fooled By Cheers

Probably no one else here has this problem.

But the more that I think about Palm Sunday,
    The more I think of the presidential elections
        Of 1928 and 1976
And The more I think about Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter

Is there anyone here who shares this experience?
I didn't think so.
    In fact, probably more of you
        On hearing that I actually make such a connection
    Would be inclined to think that I could use some R&R
        - probably at the state hospital in Ogdensburg.

On November 6 of 1928,  Hoover,
Highly respected Secretary of Commerce
Much admired for
his direction of the Belgian relief effort during WW I
was elected President in a landslide
        444 electoral votes to Al Smith's 87.

Winning 58.2% of the popular vote,
Hoover carried 40 states.   Smith won 8

Moving the clock - or rather the calendar - ahead 48 years
    We find November 2, 1976

And in a much closer election than the one in 1928
    Former Georgia governor, Jimmy Carter squeaked by Gerald Ford with barely more than half of the popular vote
    And with only 57 more electoral votes.

On Inauguration Day 1929 Hoover stood in the city of Washington
And was met with loud triumphant cheers

Although nowhere near Hoover's landslide
48 years later on Inauguration Day 1977
Carter likewise stood in the city of Washington
And was met by loud triumphant cheers.

Many years before those Inauguration Days
In fact, on the first Palm Sunday
    Jesus of Nazareth entered the city of Jerusalem
And He was met  by loud triumphant cheers.

In March 1929
    The people in Washington were looking forward to
        Years of leadership and prosperity
        Because of what happened that day.

However, at the end of October of that same year,
    The stock market crashed dramatically
    And by the time Hoover left office in March of 1933
        The market had lost well over half its value.
        And Hoover  was considered  a failure.

In January 1977
    The people in Washington were looking forward to
        Years of leadership and prosperity
        Because of what happened that day.

But as his term went on, it was marked by
    Inflation and recession
    An energy crisis
[remember the heavy sweaters
that this man from the deep south wore]
and The Iran Hostage Crisis
destroyed whatever popularity he had had

He lost the 1980 election by as many votes as Hoover had received

And thus,
As Carter left office   he too  was considered a failure

But long after the cheers of their Inauguration Days
    Had been replaced by the failures of their presidencies
        Both Hoover and Carter resurrected their reputations

Hoover - at the request of President Truman
    Led the post WW II food relief effort for Germany

Carter in 2002 received the Nobel Peace Prize
    And helped establish and develop Habitat For Humanity.

Now Palm Sunday is not a day set aside to look at American History.

And I am not simply indulging my own fascination with
    American Presidential History.

I believe that these two more modern examples help us relate to
    What we call Holy Week.

I believe that we can get somewhat of a feeling
    For what it must have been like
        For the people around Jesus
        Particularly for those closest to him.

I see the hosannas greeting Jesus in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday
    As being like the cheers that greeted
        Hoover in March of 1929
    And     Carter in January of 1977

For, at the time of the Passover celebration in the year 33
    The people in Jerusalem were looking forward to
        Years of leadership and freedom
        Because of what happened that day.

If you and I want to get a feel for Christ's entry into Jerusalem
    We can do so by thinking of any of the presidential inaugurations we have observed.
        With the cheering
        With the hope and promise of something new and good

But the stories don't end at inaugurations.
    And to grasp what happens afterwards,
We specifically need Hoover and Carter

As we noted,    for those two, things got worse,    much worse.

[foreboding voice]

Likewise,   things did not end for Jesus of Nazareth
upon his entry into Jerusalem.
As we know,     things - for a while - got worse, much worse.
Readings:   Mark 12: 1a, 15-19;
        Mark 14: 12-26;     Mark 14:43-52
        Mark 14: 66-71      Mark 15: 22-29
        Mark 15: 42-47

Where things got worse for Carter and Hoover over a four year period,
    Things got worse for Jesus almost immediately.

Four days after his entry   He was arrested.
Five days after his entry     He was hung on a cross to die in shame.

And just like when Hoover and Carter left office,
    By the end of the week, many considered him a failure
        Their hopes were dashed and devastated
        The confidence they had had as they shouted hosannas
            Had dissipated and disappeared.
        His disciples and followers felt betrayed and fooled.

However, like - but on a far larger scale than - what happened with the reputations of Hoover and Carter,
    Not only was Jesus' reputation resurrected,
He was too!

That is what and that is whom
    We will celebrate when we gather together next Sunday
        First at 6:00   And Then at [8:30] [10:30]

Now we pause for a silent moment    to prepare for that celebration
By visualizing, and by emp a thi zing with,
    The great joy of those who shouted hosannas as he entered the city; and
    The deep disappointment and despair of those who cried tears under the cross.