One thing I’ve wanted to have present in worship in my twenty-six years of pastoring churches has yet to happen.

Dear Congregation,

One thing I’ve wanted to have present in worship in my twenty-six years of pastoring churches has yet to happen. I’m reminded of that fact routinely once a year—on Palm Sunday. Can you guess what it might be from that clue?  Yes, a donkey!!! I’d love to have a donkey in church on Palm Sunday, trotting right down the center aisle of the Sanctuary, maybe braying a little, clomping, with its hoof beats muffled by the carpeting, but still audible, its large patient eyes looking at us with wonder.

 Oh, I know all the practical reasons for not having a big, live animal inside the church, and I’ve heard some hilarious accounts of those who have done so and lived to regret it. Still, what a bridge a real, live donkey colt would be between the Palm Sunday of over 2,000 years ago and today.

And so, I was intrigued to have pointed out by the Rv. Thomas Long in his sermon “Donkey Fetchers” that “…seven of the eleven verses, over half of Mark’s story of Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem, is taken up with the mundane details of acquiring a colt for Jesus to ride.” And so, we ask, “What is so important about the business-end of getting the colt for Jesus?” that it’s given seven precious sentences. Well, I wonder if all that went into getting this humble animal for Jesus isn’t rather symbolic of all the humble tasks, done by so many, often unnoticed and uncomplimented, that go into keeping the church up and running in the areas of building repair and maintenance, church programs, and worship itself, all the behind-the-scenes stuff that’s often taken for granted.

A lot of discipleship has nothing glamourous about it—operating the leaf blower before Garden Chapel worship; carrying out hand sanitizer, bulletins, microphones, musical equipment, and the offering box; cleaning up peacock poop, and setting up the camera equipment to name a few jobs done at CCC.  A lot of discipleship is doing what we’d rather not do, but doing it anyway for Jesus. A lot of discipleship involves helping prepare the way for events and opportunities for Jesus to come. I thank God for all the “donkey fetchers” we have at CCC!

In our life as disciples, we maybe called in various ways to be “donkey fetchers” for Jesus. Never think that what you do for him doesn’t matter, because it does.

The routine, sometimes exhausting, seemingly mundane, occasionally inconvenient details for faithful church membership and Christian discipleship can be seen as offerings of our love for the Savior who rode bravely and humbly into Jerusalem toward death for our sakes.

(A few years ago, I was finally able to at least BE with a donkey at Coral Gables Congregational UCC’s parade. As you can see in this picture, I was able to touch this living, breathing, donkey, and to follow as part of the procession to the church. I am grateful for that memorable faith experience.

Palm Sunday blessings to you!

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Candy

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