The Donkey


When fishes flew and forests walked

And figs grew upon thorn,

Some moment when the moon was blood

Then surely I was born.


With monstrous head and sickening cry

And ears like errant wings,

The devil’s walking parody

On all four-footed things.


The tattered outlaw of the earth,

Of ancient crooked will;

Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,

I keep my secret still.


Fools! For I also had my hour;

One far fierce hour and sweet:

There was a shout about my ears,

And palms before my feet.


This poem makes reference to the powerful ​event we commemorate today – when Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. The people became very excited – in fact, Matthew tells us later that the whole city was in turmoil! They saw the symbolism of the drama. Whereas a conquering King, or Roman General would enter the conquered city on horseback, surrounded by legions of troops – Jesus chose to enter riding a donkey. This fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah, which we hear about in our reading from the Hebrew Scriptures. “Rejoice! Your king is coming to you humble, and mounted on a donkey.”

This is a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. Whereas other kings instilled fear, and came with pomp and ceremony, the righteous King of Israel comes with humility, justice and peace, riding upon an ass. The Messiah will inspire loyalty rather than fear. He will be hailed as Saviour of his people.

Jesus did not fulfill what the people really anticipated. He did not throw out the Romans. He did not re-establish the Kingdom of Israel. He had another purpose, and a different Kingdom – the rule of God. As we follow Jesus this Sunday, I encourage you to follow him with us, as we travel through Holy Week. Please come to as many of the services as is possible. Each one is unique, and tells only a part of the story.

This is the most dramatic week in the Christian Year. It is full of meaning. See what you make of it, if you are prepared to be intensely involved. The contrasts make the celebration of Easter even more joyful than can be described! in Lent, we have given up Alleluias, flowers, and other things. As we enter Holy Week, we now even give up blessings….

I look forward to seeing you at some or all of the services



Palm Sunday
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