Summary: Why some people praise GOD? Then why some people just come to be praise police.
Text: LUKE 19: 37-40, “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples! I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
Introduction: In 1990, C. Eric Lincoln wrote his landmark book entitled "The Black Church in the African American Experience" wherein he described many of the characteristics that contribute to the uniqueness of the Black Religious Experience.
Lincoln notes that Black churches are filled with passion and emotion and that the fervor of our religious experience is oft times expressed with volume. I suppose that is a polite way of saying that we are a noisy crowd. But saints I am glad that I am in a church that won’t keep quiet. And yet, when I look in the Bible I see that we are in some pretty good company because in our text today we find another church that would not keep quiet.
In light of what this particular Sunday represents upon our Christian calendar, permit me to take you back across the chasm of time to the waning moments in the life Jesus. Fresh from his visit to Bethany where he raised Lazarus from the grave comes Luke’s description of his triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem.
Down the sloping mountains that separated Bethany from the Holy City spirals a caravan of converts led by Jesus. As he approaches the city, masses of people line the streets and blanket his path with palm leaves, an act that in ancient time was reserved for royalty.
To the shouts of hallelujah and praise comes Jesus on his way to a city that destiny would not permit him to leave.
Then comes Jesus amongst the enormous adoration of the crowds that salute him as the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Then comes Jesus with his disciples in tow and the glaring countenances of the religious hierarchy fixed upon him.
Then comes Jesus with the feeding of the 5000 and the healing of Blind Bartimaeus having been recently added to his profile and portfolio.
Then comes Jesus riding upon donkey but with the carriage and gait of being the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord.
It is here that the author of the gospel of Luke picks up the story and by doing so alerts us to reality that all is not as it seems in this picture.
Despite an enthusiastic crowd,
Despite chants of adoration,
Despite the overflowing optimism and joy, something is not quite right. It is in the 39th verse that we get a hint of the discord and possible negative undercurrent that accompanies this grand occasion.
Note if you will that the Lukan writer say that "some of the Pharisees" from among the multitude suggest to Jesus that he quiet the crowd because they are making too much noise. Now don’t miss this, those who attempt to silence the saints are not a group of casual observers who stationed off to the side somewhere watching in a somewhat detached way.
The Bible says that they were part of the multitude. The same multitude that the Bible says "the whole multitude of disciples" began to rejoice. Ah, this means that just a few minutes earlier the same people who are asking that the crowd be quiet were part the crowd that was making the noise. Isn’t it funny how you can be sitting next to somebody who is praising the Lord with you one minute and the next minute they have sour on their face and nothing can make them move.
Everybody who comes to church does not come to get their praise on. Some people do just enough praise so that they can get close enough to:
Stop your praise,
Stifle your joy,
Sour your spirit,
Sabotage your smile,
Stiffen your overflow
Soften your volume.
When I look at these Pharisees that were mixed in the multitudes I cannot help but to nickname them praise police. A Self appointed spiritual Gestapo who feel that it is their job to monitor and measure just how much praise should go forth.
Let me hasten to add that all of the praise police are not confined to the year and day of this text. Listen, You have some praise police that may be sitting next to you right now:
Some praise police may have ridden to church in your car with you this morning,
Some praise police who are trying to make eye contact with you right now,