Mary Oliver

On the outskirts of Jerusalem
the donkey waited.
Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,
he stood and waited.

How horses, turned out into the meadow,
leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages,
clatter away, splashed with sunlight.

But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.
Then he let himself be led away.
Then he let the stranger mount.

Never had he seen such crowds!
And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.
Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.

I hope, finally, he felt brave.
I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,
as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.


Luke 19:11
11 As they listened to this, Jesus told them another parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought God’s kingdom would appear right away.


This past Sunday we were in  Jericho with Jesus – healing the blind man and visiting with Zaccheus. Jesus has “turned his face towards Jerusalem”, stalwart in the knowledge of what lies ahead. He even shared it with his disciples, but they could not understand or see or wrap their minds around it.
Jesus is supposed to be the Messiah – the Savior of Israel – the one who would save the from Rome and its oppressive regime, restoring Israel to its status of a chosen nation. He was a king!!! and not supposed to die.
We know this story as we track this week to Jerusalem with this band of disciples. And we know this story… we already know about Palm Sunday and we know that things really get bad after that. We have read, heard and lived this story so many times with parades and choirs, without really sparing it a second thought.
But I wonder, this year, when it feels like we have been stuck in lent for 365 days, instead of just 40 we can change our view a little. What was the disciples thinking as they were walking toward Jerusalem? How were they holding in tension this talk of the new kingdom – when finally things will turn to God’s order again, and the fact that Jesus says he will suffer and die? Hope? Despair? Excitement? I bet it was not just another day.
Maybe after this year that we have been through, we can think about our way to Palm Sunday with new eyes also. Maybe we can hold onto the promise that the kingdom that Jesus has been promising for so long will finally be there. That truly, despite all the bad we have been through, something new – new life – lies on the other side, and face what still lies ahead with excitement and imagination. Maybe we can let the hope in, that although we are not sure what that may look like, there is a new beginning ahead of us.

Let’s pray

Wild and Unruly One,

So much around us is in flux.
The world is changing and our lives are upended.
Though we crave stability and security,
give us the courage and patience to wait for your guidance.
Sustain us through our discomfort
and reveal the pathways to changes that last.


– enfleshed, spiritual nourishment for collective liberation