The crowds began to really surround him as all the pilgrims made their ways to the city of Jerusalem. All along the trail there were people who had witnessed the healing of the blind man in Jericho – Bar-Timaeus – and now Jesus himself was on his way to the Holy City for what many were expecting to be an awesome showdown with the Romans, the chief priests and scribes.
May be we need to consider how Jesus made the journey. Maybe such a consideration gets lost in everything else that happens on this day of Holy Week. Have you noticed that it was not until they got within a couple of miles of the City that Jesus sent two of his disciples to find him a ride for the last part of the journey into Jerusalem. So he must have walked miles with his disciples before that happened, as he had so many times before.
And have you ever tried to consider the triumphant entry into the city from the donkey’s point of view. First of all there was someone on his back riding him in the midst of people shouting and waving blankets and branches which were making the road difficult to walk on and spooky to walk through since he was now bearing a burden he was afraid to drop. The people around him were boldly calling out for God to save them and to restore the throne of King David so that the good old days. A couple of people came and got him from his usual post in the street where his own would leave him for the morning while he worked in the shop. Was this a joke? Why was he taken and not some other donkey? Why should he have to bear this burden, this situation, these people, and this man?
The donkey can (possibly unwittingly) teach us what is means to be a Christian. To bear the load that we have and recognize that while the load we carry is heavy, we are in the presence of the Almighty and that is enough to motivate us to move along.
This is the moment when we might as a community consider dropping the robes of the ruler and put on the towel of the servant. We need to consider how Jesus comes to the city, to this church, to you and to and be ready, like that donkey, be faithful in what we are being drawn to. It may be hard, scary, even messy and painful, but remember this, we are in the presence and within the peace of the one who rides as King. We move with the One who is bringing reconciliation, healing and salvation to this hurt, broken, separated and dying world.
Lift up your heads to the coming King, open yours gates and draw him in O City!