There's a show on. A commotion in town. It is a Sunday and coming into Jerusalem is something between a carnival and a protest. Coats are laid down to make a makeshift red carpet. Palm branches are are waved like wordless banners declaring, "I’m with this guy.”
But who is this guy?
Who is this guy followed and adored by the least the last and the lost? Women and children? The disabled and the distrusted? Even a few Romans and collaborators seem to be in his rabble of chanting followers. Do you see yourself?
This guy, where does he come from, this guy?
He’s a northerner. He worked as a handyman. A white-van man with no schooling to speak of. But when people fall before him and call him God, he does not stop them. This healing, loving, lively leader of the least.
Who is this guy? And what is his plan? To storm Jerusalem and take it by force? Or to sneak in and blow it up DeathStar Stylie?
No, this guy is coming in full view riding on a donkey. A donkey? Not a warhorse? Not on a chariot? On a donkey!
A donkey. So noisy it's funny. So ugly it is beautiful. Stubborn as an ass and unassumingly strong.
This is madness, shut them up Jesus. Make them stop chanting that you are the King of Kings. The Romans will go mad!
But this guy knew, this Jesus knew that every blade of grass, every stone and star declares His glory. Even the donkey he is riding carries the sign of God’s great love kissed on to its back. A cross marked on the animal destined to carry the king of love and bear him even if people will not.
On Palm Sunday we walk with another donkey to Northcote Road. We show our place in the world is alongside that guy, King Jesus. We are those he loves and values. And so too are all those not in the church. Our procession is an invitation. Will you too join this guy? Will you be part of the Jesus rabble? Will you too accept that you are loved by God? Will you too know peace and freedom? Will you too bring your doubts and questions every day to the man from Nazareth and see in Him the King of love?
It's so obvious it can be missed, like the mark on a donkey's back, signs of God’s love are everywhere in the sunrise and the resurrection of blossom each spring and the way our hearts beat. Will you too remember and relive the week in Jerusalem where with this guy all our fears were nailed and all our hopes rose to life?