Monday, March 29, 2010

The reality of needs: a donkey?

Image from blog Brian Dennet here.
Matthew 21
The Triumphal Entry
1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."

4This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5"Say to the Daughter of Zion,
'See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.' "[a]

6The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
"Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!"
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"[c]
"Hosanna[d] in the highest!"

10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"
11The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."


The story of Palm Sunday was always one of my favorites as a child. As an energetic-tom-boyish-hard-to-sit-still-all-the-way-through-the-sermon kind of kid, I appreciated this Sunday where I could sing a little louder, wave a palm branch with all my might and work out some of my excess energy.

Today when I read this story, the words, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." , seem to stand out to me.

Jesus needed the donkey. Jesus needed the disciples to go get the donkey and maybe, just maybe, Jesus needed that celebratory moment of affirmation that day as he entered Jerusalem to help carry him through what would be the most difficult week of his life. As Christians work to care for the diverse needs of the people within our community, we can never underestimate what shape the needs of people may take.

A child may need a safe place to play or a family may need some groceries to get through to the end of the month. Someone may need to learn to read, improve their speaking skills, or they may simply need a word of affirmation or encouragement that they can achieve their goal of getting that new job. The needs are many, but God's resources and vision are limitless.

Prayer:

God help us to see beyond our perspective of what needs you can provide for. Help our vision to be your vision and help us to be bold as was go to find ways to provide for the "donkey" you are asking us to retrieve for You and your children.

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