Monday, November 30, 2009

Riding the Donkey

“Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”Matthew 21:5

Whenever I think about riding a donkey, I think about Mary, "great with child", riding to Bethlehem to deliver the Christ Child. From children's books to great paintings in museums, Mary will be depicted riding on a donkey. The meek and lowly mother of God is etched in my psyche as riding on a donkey into Bethlehem. And yet, that image appears no where in the scripture for Mary. No word was said that she road a donkey - anywhere. What is said very clearly in scripture is the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on donkey, being welcomed as a king. A most humble entrance and a most fabulous welcome. And I cannot help but wonder what the donkey thought of all the commotion.

As we walk this Advent journey, I have to consider what it means for us today to ride on a donkey. How do we begin and enter in humbly to this great season, waiting expectantly for the coming of the Christ Child? I am not advocating for riding donkeys everywhere. I wonder how often those of us who have cars ride the bus anymore, or walk to the various errands we do locally. A friend who walks a great deal told me about some incredible things she finds on her walks. Things people drop or toss out of cars. The world is very different when we engage with it by walking the streets, looking directly into the faces of others, seeing who and what has been left behind. Maybe Mary's donkey ride was not in the text, but maybe we can take a cue from her and enter this season with humility and great hope. Fear surrounded her and yet she went on her way.

May we all be courageous today and take on humility for Advent. Find a way to ride a donkey in our own context. Let God introduce us to the humble and poor in our neighborhoods. May we open to the Christ child by not avoiding the stables and the bus stations, and by walking among the people who know our salvation is at hand.

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