Sunday, April 2, 2023

Holy Week

If you've ever had some personal spiritual direction you know that one of the directors' common techniques is to ask you to reflect on a scripture passage from the point of view of one of the key people in it. For instance, in the parable of the prodigal son you could look at it from the viewpoint of the father, the wayward son, or the obedient son who stayed home. It's a very fine technique and, to look at scripture stories from a women's point of view can also be quite eye-opening, especially for women themselves, who did not write the scriptures!

This weekend I was asked to read the gospel for Sunday--the one where Jesus rides triumphantly into Jerusalem. It made me think about the differing "views" in the story and, in a rather unusual one, the experience from the donkey's viewpoint. I know that sounds very funny, but Mary Oliver wrote a lovely reflection from just that. Here it is....blessings on your Holy Week.

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.

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