From LCMS Director of Worship Rev. Will Weedon on Palm Sunday:
So, let me tell you my story. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be saddled with ears like what I got? And when I go to open my mouth, what comes out but this obnoxious sound: “Hee-haw! Hee-haw!”
Everyone made fun of me. All the other animals. They said I was half-grown. They said I was God’s joke on the animal kingdom. They said I wasn’t good for anything but carrying heavy burdens on my back. They said I was as stupid was I was stubborn.
I used to let it get to me. I used to feel kinda low. But then one day something happened. Something that changed me forever. And now, when I swagger down the street, all those smarty animals look at me with envy. Let me tell you about it. It happened like this.
There I was, mindin’ my own business, munchin’ away on some grass. It was spring and boy did that fresh grass taste great. I mean, you gotta imagine what it’s like to have straw shoved down your throat all winter long. Yuck! Now, where was I? Oh, yea. I was eatin’ this new grass, when along come these people that I never laid eyes on before. They walked right up to me, untied me and started to lead me away.
Well, do you think I was just going to let them donkey-nap me? No way. I started my hee-hawing and planted my feet firm. And pretty soon my owner showed up and wanted to know what these bozos were up to, making off with his prize donkey, right? So, I settle back to hear him tell them off. Only he doesn’t. They say to him: “The Lord has need of him.” And right away my owner wacks me with a stick and tells me to start with these men I’ve never seen. Now, I ask you, does this make any sense?
So there I was, feeling dejected, rejected, and humbled. Handed over to strangers without a fight. But then, they bring me to Him. You humans. You humans are so blind. You can’t see what’s right before your eyes. But not us animals. We are not so stupid as to not recognize the hand that made us. I started shivering and shaking, let me tell you. I was scared. I mean, there was God. All got up like a human. Well, I mean, He was a human. But it was God. You get what I mean? And He looks into my eyes and He knows that I know who He is, right? And you know what He done?
He smiled. He smiled and He winked. Like it was a big secret between me and Him. And then they lift him up on my back. My back. Here I was, your average donkey, and the Creator of all actually sat Himself down on my back. Let me tell you, I held my head up high.
Who notices a donkey? I mean, you’d have to be a donkey to realize how everybody ignores you. But not that day, no siree. They crowded around me and they sang to Him. Clothes were coming off as people lined the path before my feet. Palm branches filled the air. And everyone everywhere was shoutin’ “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel. Hosanna in the highest!”
Down that big hill and then up to the city walls, I carried Him. And I could tell He was glad, and yet sad. You see, He was riding to that City to die. His look told me that too. He was going to die to fix this world. He was going to die to get rid of the death and sorrow that fills this place. He was going die to open up the way back home – back to where we all really belong. Donkeys too.
When He got off my back we were right outside the temple. He looked into my eyes and I don’t mind tellin’ youse – I couldn’t hold back the tears. But the look He gave me was as clear as it could be: “It’s not good-bye, donkey! It’s until we meet again! Because even though I die, I am not going to remain dead. I’m going rise again!” And then He smiled that smile and I was the happiest donkey in the world.
Now, like I said, you humans sometimes are so blind. I’m sure you don’t mean to be, but it amazes us animals. Because just like the Master rode into town on that fine spring day in Jerusalem, He still rides into your town. Only this time, I don’t get to carry Him, this time He comes on bread and wine. I mean, if you had animal eyes you’d see Him right there, right there on that altar after the words are spoken: “This is my body given for you; this is my blood shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” The same Jesus – the one that rode on my back. He comes to you right there, and then I wish I was a human so I could smile and receive Him too. Because when you sing: “Hosanna in the highest and blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” each week, it’s just like it happened all over again, and I’m carrying Him into town.
Humans! Do you even begin to realize the blessings you got? Open your eyes. Take it from a donkey.