There is no class for it, but there should be. Every pastor ought to go through training when asking children questions in public worship. One pastor, let’s call him Pastor Dingbat, invited all his little friends to the front for the children’s sermon. He held a picture of Jesus holding a lamb and then began explaining how Jesus described Himself as the good shepherd. He elaborated: how sheep needed all the help they could get, how vulnerable they were, how dependent they were, and how children were similar to sheep. He ended: “So you see kids. You are like sheep and you need a shepherd.” Then he opened his arms and leaned toward the children, saying, “And who is your shepherd?’’ By his posture, he obviously expected one of the children to say, “You are, Pastor Dingbat.” Instead one of the little boys raised his hand and said, “Jesus is the shepherd.” A little nonplussed, the pastor asked, “Well then, who am I?” The same little boy had the answer: “Oh, you must be a sheepdog.”
Every pastor brave enough to attempt one of these children’s moments has a story about being one-upped by one of these intellectual giants. Every parent who has sent one his/her children to the front also knows the terror of wondering what will come out of his/her child’s mouth.
Sunday I ventured back into shark-infested waters with some questions about Holy Week. My topic was Palm Sunday. I first asked “What is this day called?” One of my ever-ready scholars was ready. Her father told me she had been prepped the night before. Lifting her hand, she offered me two options: “It’s called Palm Sunday or Masters Sunday.” Technically she was right. It was indeed Palm Sunday, recognizing the triumphal entry of Jesus. In addition, it was indeed Masters Sunday. For most people, not just golf enthusiasts, they know that yesterday was the final day of the great tournament held in Augusta.
We could look at her answer in a different way. Yesterday could be described as Master’s Sunday. Jesus rode a donkey on a carpet of palm branches and cloaks into the holy city. Many in the crowd hailed Him, cried out to Him “Hosanna!” – “Save us!” The King came, fulfilling prophecy and proclaiming the advent of His kingdom. The Master arrived, fully aware of what awaited Him. This wasn’t Pilate’s day or Caiaphas’s day. This wasn’t the crowd’s day or even His disciples’ day. This was the Master’s Day.
Some of the darkest days in human history would occur during that fateful week. His enemies found a way to silence Him … for a brief time. Darkness will give way to brilliant light. Sin, death, evil will find their match. The Master claimed His day. Sunday’s coming!