Just a Donkey

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Rev'd Robert Amos writes... Four years ago I was at Wembley Stadium watching my team Barnsley win the Johnstone's paint trophy. A few weeks later they won their place in the Championship league. What an exciting time to be part of a crowd.

As we begin Holy Week we remember the story of the crowds cheering as they welcomed Jesus on the last week of his earthly life. It is a shame that we can't re-enact the story in our churches this Sunday but we can read it and reflect on what it says to us today.

I came across an old story about the donkey that carried Jesus on that first Palm Sunday. It was now the next day and the donkey was still excited about previous day's ride into Jerusalem. Never before had she felt such a rush of pleasure and pride. She walked into town and found a group of people by the well.

"I'll show myself to them," she thought. But they just went on drawing water and paid her no attention to her.

"Throw your garments down," the donkey said. "Don't you know who I am?" They looked at her in amazement. Someone slapped her across the rear and ordered her to move.

"Miserable heathens!" she muttered to herself. "I'll just go to the market where the good people are. They'll remember me."

But the same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as she strutted down the main street.

"The palm branches! Where are the palm branches?" she shouted. "Yesterday, you threw palm branches!" Hurt and confused, the donkey returned home to her mother.

"Foolish child," mother said gently. "Don't you realize that without him, you are just an ordinary donkey?"

Just like the donkey who carried Jesus into Jerusalem Christians are most fulfilled when in the presence of Christ. Without him, all our best efforts are like "a filthy cloth" (Isaiah 64:6) and amount to nothing.

When we lift up Christ, however, we are no longer ordinary people, but key players in God's plan to redeem the world.

Notice that the donkey's service to Christ consisted in doing what donkeys do. Donkeys carry burdens. But the donkey's ordinary task was made sacred when it carried Christ.

The lesson for us all is that when we go about our ordinary lives, doing the ordinary things that we do they are made sacred by bringing Christ into them. I pray for all those who are carrying burdens in serving their neighbours during the crisis.

Click here to hear a very young Robert singing 'I'm Just A donkey' with the Hillside Singers UK!

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