St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 1st April 2012
I’m sure that many of us have pets of whom we’re fond and some of us may have worked with animals, everything from chickens to shire horses. Jesus was born in a stable among the animals there and no doubt grew up being very familiar with the animals around his home; later, sheep and goats, chickens and dogs were among many animals featured in the stories and parables that he told.
Today, we remember one particular animal which became an essential in the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy. Zechariah 9;9 speaks of ‘your king, coming triumphant and victorious, but humble and riding on a donkey’ and we are told that Jesus asked his disciples to go and find a donkey tied up with her colt beside her because he would ride into Jerusalem on her back(or the colt’s back, depending on which Gospel you read!)
I love G K Chesterton’s poem which celebrates that momentous occasion:
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me:
I am dumb,I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
Some churches have a special collection to send to a donkey sanctuary on Palm Sunday or
we can perhaps make a prayer of thanks for the animals which are essential in our lives – Zipporah the Westie in my case!