Thursday, April 10, 2014

Palm Sunday: The Donkey Speaks

photo by Anthony/ flickr
It’s funny, now as I look back on it. Two men came into my village where I was tied next to a colt. They simply untied me and the other animal and took us to the one called Jesus. This Jesus came close and patted both of us. He smoothed out my coat—he looked at my feet to make sure my hoofs were fine. He seemed to be interested in both of us.  Most people just treated us like beasts that were to do the work. Sometimes we were beaten—often we were cursed and kicked.

The disciples who had brought us came and put cloaks on both our backs. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just the outer cloaks peasants wore. The same kind of people that owned us and worked us in the fields.  Jesus slowly mounted my back. I think the colt must have been right behind. In the rush of everything I don’t remember. But Jesus began, clip-clop, clip-clop down the road to Jerusalem. As we got closer we saw people on both sides of the road. Some were shouting. Some had palm branches in their hands. Some even took their garments and palm branches and paved the road. As we moved on there were more people and they yelled, over and over, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Then the roads were packed with people. Most were shouting and singing and some had tears running down their faces. Children were everywhere. The crowds scared me. I found myself pulling back, not wanting to go forward. But this man Jesus did not kick or pull hard on my bridle—he just patted me, whispered in my ear and I felt things were going to be fine.

We finally made it to the Temple. And Jesus slowly dismounted and went inside. I was outside but I heard the clanging of coins and it sounded like tables overturned. I think I heard Jesus say: “This is supposed to be a house of prayer and you have turned it into a den of robbers.” He sounded angry. Some important-looking people came running out and I heard them say, “Now we can get him. He’s gone too far.”
Someone led me away from the crowds and confusion. They gave me something to eat and drink. The colt was there with me. I do not know exactly what happened. Some called him the King of the Jews. I wondered. How cans a King ride into the city on a donkey? Kings always rode on horses. I do not know if he was a king or not.  I only remember his gentleness. I remember how he patted me as if he loved me.

It was strange, though. The crowds just wandered away. The palm branches they had laid down with some of their cloaks had been brushed aside. Later I overheard someone say they had sentenced this Jesus to death. Where were the crowds that welcomed him into the city so joyfully? Now they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” I did not understand at all.

Some said they nailed him to a Roman cross. I heard somewhere that they put a sign above his head that said: “This is the King of the Jews.” I was confused. Kings rode in on stallions. Kings did not die on crosses.

What I do remember was that the sky turned dark. It thundered and the ground shook. And then the rain started. I didn’t think it would ever stop. But finally it did and everything got very quiet. I do not know what all of this meant, if anything. I only know he was gentle and kind and he acted as if he cared for me and the colt. So unlike a King. But I will remember him until he day I die.  

photo by Kay Ebel / flickr

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