Sunday is always a good day. The spouse and I take a long morning walk. We go to choir practice where we make music with people we like. We sing hymns. We take the sacrament. I play the organ loudly, badly and with great joy. We spend two hours with toddlers who think every idea we have is a good one. Yesterday we made palm fronds out of sticks, construction paper and smiley face stickers. We paraded the hall at church waving our leaves and singing Hosanna. Toddlers trying to march and wave at the same time is hilarious. Embraced by my religious community and Sabbath worship habits, I went to bed eagerly anticipating the upcoming Holy Week. I would be my best self this week.
Monday morning came and reminded me that while I am a well-intentioned spirit, I am a spirit encased in flesh and my flesh is weak. The list of holy intentions I made before going to bed sits at the kitchen table mocking me. My spirit is willing but my flesh just wants to go back to bed. Fortunately for me, I've had a life time of Monday mornings. I know
A donkey is not a beautiful creature. What it lacks in beauty is not compensated by a good nature or a pleasing voice. It cannot even claim exotic or rare as a distinguishing feature. And yet the donkey-- short legs, long ears, big teeth, voice of horror-- plays a central role in the life of Christ bearing his mother to his birth and carrying him in his brief moment of triumph on the day called Palm Sunday which launches Christians' most Holy Week. GK Chesterton wrote a tribute to the donkey for Palm Sunday.
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 Of 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 hours and sweet: There was a shout about my ears, And palms before my feet.
Holy Week starts with shouts of hosanna and songs of praise. We sing and celebrate even though we know the story will take us through betrayal, injustice, suffering and death before leading us to the hope and promise of Easter morning.
In the grand scheme of God's creations, I am a donkey. I'm not much to look at and