Of course it had to be Palm Sunday. With the road from Bethany to Jerusalem closely guarded, Pharisees and Sadducees were dressed up in their finery, pontificating from Media Temples no pauper could get near. And having no Jesus to disturb them, of course, they had to go and pick on Jeremiah instead.
Why does Jeremiah have to go around talking like that, they asked? And what sorts of characters would dare to be moved by his words? Outside the gates at Bethany a mute refugee from Benjamin was pointing to a book that the guards had been trained not to read.
“Sound the alarm in Judah, broadcast the news in Jerusalem” said the book. “Shout out–a bullhorn bellow! Not a minute to lose! Don’t sit on your hands!”
Coming back from commercial break, the keepers of state doctrine examined up to three or four words a time, shaking their heads. They had no time to read the whole book, especially not on Palm Sunday.
“Jerusalem! Scrub the evil from your lives so you’ll be fit for salvation,” said Jeremiah.
“He’s calling us evil!” shot back the Pharisees. “How hateful is that!”
“Listen to this, you scatterbrains, airheads,” called a voice from within the studio. “With eyes that see, but don’t really look, and ears that hear, but don’t really listen. Why don’t you honor me? Why aren’t you in awe before me?”
“Who’s talking?” queried the moderator. He turned to the flag, standing in the corner of the room. “Is that the flag talking? But we do honor you! How dare you say we don’t.”
It looked like an interesting debate was shaping up, but it was time to sell a retirement plan, so the flag, or whoever it was, never got a chance to reply.
Back at Bethany Gate, the mute refugee was pointing to something, but it was never located at You Tube, therefore, this is the part that nobody heard:
“My people are infiltrated by wicked men, unscrupulous men on the hunt. They set traps for the unsuspecting. Their victims are innocent men and women. Their houses are stuffed with ill-gotten gain, like a hunter’s bag full of birds. Pretentious and powerful and rich, hugely obese, oily with rolls of fat. Worse, they have no conscience. . . .
“Unspeakable! Sickening! What’s happening in this country?”
By noontime the buffets had been well stocked and everyone broke for lunch. A luxury automobile sped past the mute refugee. As dust fell down on his pages, heavy, dark windows blocked his curiosity about what might be going on inside.
(Translations by Eugene H. Peterson.)
GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. His chapter on civil rights under Clinton and Bush appears in Dime’s Worth of Difference, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. He can be reached at: email@example.com.