that monthly changes in her circle orb.
Lest that your love prove likewise variable.
-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
No one wants to be called fickle. The word conjures to mind junior high romances or soap operas. Fame is fickle. Celebrity marriages are fickle. If you're the person holding a treat, my dog can be fickle.
I am also fickle. Especially when it comes to God.
I'm not alone in this either. I cannot ever read the passage when Jesus comes into Jerusalem without thinking this. "Hosana!" the people cried, lining the road with their cloaks, waving their palm branches. They shouted; they praised. Even the Pharisees could not silence them this day. "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
Yet a few days later, these same voices were raised in the streets: "Crucify him!"
As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the followers of Jesus spread the news of his good deeds, notably raising Lazarus from the dead. The praise spread, working the people into a furor.
As Pilate stood before them a few days later, the Pharisees and scribes had been stirring up the people. I wonder what they said, probably in whispers--because that's how vicious rumors start. With the same degree of passion, the fickle crowd moved from praise to condemnation, choosing to free a murderer.
I'm not going to tell you that you're fickle. But I bet, like me, you are. Maybe you leave church and become enraged (and rightly so) at the person who almost hits you because they are texting and driving. Maybe a few minutes after saying the blessing at dinner you snap at one of your children, or your husband. Maybe you sit in church, judging what someone else is wearing, or the speaking ability of your pastor.
Or maybe it's more subtle even than that. I see the fickleness of my heart in the way that I love myself most, though I would proclaim that I want God to be first in my life. I see it in the way I often think of myself--much higher than I ought. I see it in the way I can walk away from prayer sometimes, unchanged.
You know what Jesus' response to this fickle crowd was? He died for them.
Even on the cross, he said, "Father, forgive them--they know not what they do." God's constant faithfulness and love is a direct contrast to my heart, fickle more even than the moon, the inconstant moon. I change moment by moment, not month by month. But still there is God's faithful love--dependent on his own character (which is not fickle), not dependent on my response to it.
Hosana, I say, praying for God to make me faithful, not fickle. Hosana.
Writing posts related to Easter and Lent? Link up each Friday.
This is part of a Lenten series based on and related to my Lenten devotional, Consider the Cross. For more, you can find the book on Amazon.