Tuesday Morning Devotion (Making an Unseemly Noise)

35Then they brought the colt to Jesus, placed their garments on it, and had Jesus ride. 36As they went along, they spread their garments in the path.

37Now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples begain to rejoice, praising God with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen. 38They said:

Blessed is the one who comes,
As king in the name of the Lord
In heaven let there be peace,
and glory in the highest.

39But certain of the Pharisees from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40And he answered, “I tell you, if these were to be quite, the stones would cry out!” — Luke 19:35-40

One thing I learned as a child is that there are times when the adults want you to be very quiet. Another thing I learned was that those times came a lot more often than I wanted them to.

Being quiet is something we learn. A baby doesn’t respect the walls of a church, a library, or even the halls of the legislature. He speaks when he thinks there is something to speak. It’s the adults that know precisely when one should be quiet and when one should speak; when one should whisper and when one should shout.

In our story today, Jesus is asked to rebuke the disciples, the whole multitude of them—that suggests to me more than the twelve were involved—because they are making an unseemly noise.

And Jesus tells them, that if he rebuked the disciples, even the stones would cry out. It was a time of joy, and those who called for order and rebuke were off the mark. It was, in fact, such a time for joyful noise that the stones couldn’t keep silent if the people didn’t respond.

It is so easy to destroy someone’s joy. Let’s look at some ways this could happen, so we can avoid doing this. We want to follow the example of Jesus. Let’s never give the stones an excuse to cry out!

We can refuse to listen. Joy likes to express itself. If we indicate by our attitude that we aren’t interested, that we don’t have time for someone else’s rejoicing, we can kill the joy.

We can criticize the method. Some jump up and down. Some dance. Some shout. Some sing. We may have our own ideas about how one should behave when one is joyful. By criticizing the way joy is expressed, we can kill the joy.

We can judge the people. It could be age, race, gender, our perception of them as “unclean,” more sinful than others. We can say that the person who is rejoicing should instead be repenting. Perhaps they should be out working for a better living, supporting their family. Perhaps they should be helping in the church. What are they doing rejoicing?

We can judge the timing. “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” That’s the proverb. We might change it to say, “A time for everything and everything in its time.” “The time for joy is in a different service,” says the church elder. Or perhaps it should be in a different room. We can’t have all this noise in the sanctuary.

We can ridicule the attitude. It’s excessive, it’s unimportant, it’s selfish. We can criticize just how joyful the person is. Everything in moderation, we say. And we kill the joy.

We can ridicule the reason. We can doubt that the reason is adequate. Others are starving! How can you be so joyful about food? That really wasn’t such a big miracle. It could have just been coincidence. And we kill the joy.

Let’s quit killing the joy. Let’s drop the criticism. Let’s silence the rebuke instead of the signs of joyful shouting.

No crying stones around here, please! Be joyful, and express your joy today.

Note: Today’s devotional is also today’s Running Toward the Goal podcast.

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