I’ve been called an ‘Ass’ more times than I can count. Really, that specific word has come up almost my whole life in certain circumstances. Usually, I’m in the middle of a snarky giggling guffaw, appreciating a clever remark I sent stinging in some friend’s direction. I’m ‘giving them crap’ and the common response is something like “You’re an Ass!”
Last Sunday, during church, I found myself thinking that being an Ass, isn’t such a bad thing.
It was Palm Sunday, the familiar scriptures were read. The Word showed us the triumphant entrance to Jerusalem that Jesus made to a jubilant throng of people. They lay down their cloaks. They wove a lush green carpet of palm branches too. He wasn’t mounted on a white stallion, or strapped into a gilded golden chariot. Our Pastor Ron, explained it was quite possible that the little donkey that Jesus chose to ride in on, was so small that the feet of God’s Son may have been dragging the ground.
The colt, the foal, the small and immature Ass, that Jesus used to fulfill an ancient prophecy, can teach us a lot about the way He works in our lives today. I can sure relate, not to the King, not even to the worshippers along the road, but to that base animal, that Jesus mounted himself upon.
I have heard it said that the colt, could even be considered stolen, by some. The disciples were following orders. They took it and brought it back to their Rabbi. He is showing us the irony, that his power doesn’t arrive like a knight dressed for battle. It’s unarmed, it’s common-looking, and it’s the greatest love the world has ever seen.
I don’t ever feel like I’m ‘the type’ of ‘churchy’ person, that someone would expect to be a born-again Christian. I can remember growing up and seeing the men in suits and ties, leaders of the community, with stiff-combed white haircuts, as The Men of the church. I’m sure they were fantastic Christians too.
What Jesus is telling us though, is that He can use the unexpected to carry out God’s will. All of us are important to His grand masterpiece. Even the wild-stubborn, adolescent and raw jackass is integral to his arrival. You could conclude that he needed to show up on that animal to prove the might of his world-altering sacrifice. It puts an exclamation point upon beginning sentence of this Passion week story.
Today is Good Friday, the darkest hours, the humiliation, the pain, the death before the resurrection.
I’m assuming that same little donkey went back to his own world, and chewed some hay, while Jesus was bleeding for all our sins.
When we chose Him, and he rides into the world again, upon the back of an Ass, like me, I can’t really go back again. His touch changes and transforms. Life is never the same as before. It is still common and gritty and dark at times. There are plenty of moments where I feel untamed and immature. I want to stay stubborn as a mule. At the darkest hour though, when all hope seems lost and the flame is gone and only smoke is left… The candle relights.
Jesus is resurrected. Death is conquered. Easter is a state of the heart, implanted into every person who wants it.
We aren’t lost sheep. We haven’t been forgotten. We may be tied up with almost no prospect of something better. The disciples are on the way. They will steal us, and take us to the Teacher. He will use us, just as we are, in perfect fulfillment of prophecy.
Be thankful my friends. Our salvation is being earned today, not because we can ever deserve it, but because his love is beyond simple comprehension.
Until next week, may God bless us all, ay you be a vehicle for His will, may Easter live all year in our oh-so human hearts.