A poem by Mary Oliver, called “The Poet Thinks about the Donkey:”
“On the outskirts of Jerusalem the donkey waited.
Not especially brave, or filled with understanding, he stood and waited.
How horses, turned out into the meadow, leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages, clatter away, splashed with sunlight!
But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.
Then he let himself be led away. Then he let the stranger mount.
Never had he seen such crowds! And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen. Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.
I hope, finally, he felt brave. I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him, as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.”
When I was growing up, Palm Sunday seemed as happy as the next Sunday, Easter morning. On Palm Sunday, after all, we were given palm branches that we could wave as we heard about the happy parade for Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey, praised by people with palm branches like ours, and who also laid their cloaks down for him like a red carpet. Palm Sunday was fun. Easter was more fun, with an Easter basket, eggs, and special new clothes, and lots of good food! But Palm Sunday was also fun as a child. And maybe it should be that way.