Pearls before Swine had a cartoon this past week, where the Rat is pounding a sledgehammer against the wall, and the Pig walks in and says, “What are you doing, Rat?” And the Rat, pounding on the wall, says, “I CAN’T STAND BEING AT HOME ANY LONGER SO I’M SLEDGEHAMMERING MY WAYS OUT!!” And the Pig says, “Why don’t you just use the door?” And the Rat says, as he stops sledgehammering the wall, “Forgot we had those.”
That’s kind of where we are now, in this time between where we will Never get back to, and the time we have not yet achieved, in this liminal time; we are where we don’t want to be any longer, but we are not where we will be in the future. And we are prone to freaking out. We need to remember what we have; the beauty of God’s world; it’s glory, it’s wonder, it’s provision. We need to recognnize the goodness in the world.
Usually this scripture is about Jesus knowing ahead of time that the person had a colt never before ridden, or that He planned very well, and maybe you know the story as Both: Jesus was omniscient that there was an unridden colt there, and He had made arrangements with its owner. And like Susan said, His riding into Jerusalem on the back of that donkey/colt meant that like that colt/donkey, He would carry our burdens.
And like Donna Johansen read from Zechariah, that person would bring Peace, and Justice and all would be well. And it would happen on the planet while people were alive. The “now” part of “eternity.” The “life to come” that meant when there was a Very Good King.
Before we go further, I want to talk about the Grace that’s here. Remember there are three kinds: Prevenient, Justifying, and Sanctifying, which I will forever now call Coincidental, Forgiving and Empowering. This scripture shows us some ways to work within those graces to ride with Jesus into the “life to come” that is at the end of the ride with Christ into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.
First there are the words, “Immediately as you enter…” “As soon as ye enter” which means to me that what we need is Right There. This is the Coincidental Grace. What we need is Right There. We have all we need. We have everything we need. My sister is an herbalist, and she says, whatever herbs you need to heal, just look around: you have everything you need.
Remember the very first day we had Zoom Church a year ago last week… and I sang, “Have you seen the sunrise, with the colors crossing the sky? Have you seen the mountains, the green hillsides rising up high? Have you heard the birds sing, as they welcome morning to life? Have you seen the beauty of the world??” I hope you are still singing that song, as I am, making new words each time.
The second thing is that the colt had never been ridden. I think this is important. When David Bachelor wrote “Warrior Wash,” he had found the scripture in Numbers 19 where the first ingredient of the water wash that could take away the “Death Shadow” was a red heifer who had never been yoked. Now the Church has believed Paul’s version of things in this way, “When I was a child I spoke like a child, I thought like a child … and I have put away childish things and am now a man.” (Paraphrase of I Corinthians 13:11).
I prefer to follow Jesus’ thoughts on children, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them. For to such belong the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) And “You must be as a little child in order to enter the Kingdom.” (Paraphrase of Luke 18.17) For me, this idea of the colt never being ridden is that it is just a being Alive. So often we allow the culture, the world, to narrow down who we are to one role, one job, one function. But when we are little kids, when we are like the unyoked red heifer, or the unridden colt, we are just who we are. We have dreams of the world that are not reduced to whatever cog we have been reduced to in order to fit into the machinery of the world. Like children, we are who we are, with dreams and visions of the world we will grow into, as big as the world itself. Unbroken.
So, the first clue is the Grace of God being in our world, before we know we need God, and here, it is to recognize that we have all we need. Like the Pig said to the Rat. “Why not use the door?”
And the second thing is the Justifying, the Forgiving Grace, of being who we are deep inside with our child imaginations and joys and love and forgiveness. Our trust. I read a lovely book, Zane Grey, called “Cabin Gultch” and it is about a maiden who sees the good in even bad people, so that even the bad people do good. This is the Grace that allows us to know everyone is simply doing the best they can, and to notice that and to see that. To forgive others and self. So that you can look at the world like a llittle child. In the comic Pickles, Grampa is sitting on the front steps with Nelson, the grandson, and Grampa says, “When I was your age, all my heroes were cowboys.” He names the cowboys, “Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, Red (somebody that I didn’t know), Gene Autry. All of them are gone now.” Nelson asks, “Who are your heroes now, Grampa?” And Grampa says, “Everyone who shows compassion and kindness to others.” Kindness and Compassion require Forgiveness. Knowing there is good in everyone. Like little children know.
And the third piece is only in the KJV of the Bible… where it says in verse 4, that the disciples found the colt “in a place where two ways met;…” For now, this may be the most important way to ride into God’s Family with Jesus. Where two ways meet. The actual Greek word means “Both” and the last part of the word by itself means, “Road.” For us, for this liminal time, for this time where we will Not ever go back to the way it was, where we are Not in the place to which we’re going, while we are in the midst of these 3 Crisis’, (“Crisis” is the Greek word for “Judgement”)… recognizing we stand at a place where “2 ways meet,” we might be able to come through this time with real healing on the other side.
Two ways: male and female, person of color and white, rich and poor, young and old, educated and uneducated, liberal and conservative. When we stand on the place where two ways meet we can actually llisten to one another, not just put our perspective out there and go “Lalalalalallalalal” with our fingers in our ears. We can speak to each other without name calling, without insulting one another, and listen, and !! find that we all want the same thing. Just from different angles…
The cartoon for this one is Baby Blues…where the kids have been doing acrobatics on the furniture behind mom’s back for days, now, and mom tells dad, “They were going to do a back flip off the couch, onto this exercise ball, then jump up and grab the ceiling fan, then do one rotation and jump into the bucket of water over there.” Dad says, “Wow. And I’ve just been in front of the computer in finance meetings all day,” and mom says, “I don’t want you to envy them, I want you to sympathize with me!”
The folks who are hunter-gatherers tell how it’s done. In the physical world, there are particles and there are waves. Both Sound and Light work with both these attributes: particles and waves…
the folks who were hunter gathers were One people, with two perspectives who lived well together.
The hunters worked this way; and they were mostly the men,with some women who were also sometimes warriors, who would go out for one purpose, first gathering to get in a line, a hierarchy, then going usually single file to where they would do their deed: kill an animal, then divide it up, then carry it back to the community and pass out the pieces. They did one thing at a time, as tho’ lining up particles and moving along a straight line.
The gatherers, mostly women, with some gay men, worked this way… a bunch of them would go out, and gather herbs and berries and nuts, and talk with one another, and keep an eye on the children, and take down a rabbit or two, and notice which herbs were not yet ripe, and figure out when they would be, and they would gather wood for fires, and carry all this bounty back with them in a clump of people, with children and elders along, and each one noticing all around them; the wave: a bunch of information and activity all at one time.
And the hunters and the gatherers were one people. One people who worked in two different ways, for the good of all the people.
So, we need to remember that (1.) we have everything we need, and (2.) to become again like little children, trusting, loving unconditionally, forgiving, with wonder and the knowing there are Endless possibilities ahead.
And (3.) we need to live in the place where two ways meet. Talking to one another, and listening, and realizing we are all in this together, that each perspective has insights to offer of value to all.
Then we need to wrap it all up and take it to Jesus. And go with Him into Jerusalem and into His Family, and His realm/world/kin-dom. There is a song my dad used to play, I’ve told you he was a muscian, so I grew up on these songs, and this one came to me this week, because it Fits:
If I ruled the world…. by Cyril Ornadel, Leslie Bricusse
If I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of spring
Every heart would have a new song to sing
And we’d sing of the joy every morning would bring
If I ruled the world, every man would be as free as a bird
Every voice would be a voice to be heard
Take my word we would treasure each day that occurred
My world would be a beautiful place
Where we would weave such wonderful dreams
My world would wear a smile on its face
Like the man in the moon has when the moon beams
If I ruled the world every man would say the world was his friend
There’d be happiness that no man could end
No my friend, not if I ruled the world
Every head would be held up high
There’d be sunshine in everyone’s sky
If the day ever dawned when I ruled the world
See, if we could know we have all we need, and allow ourselves to be like little children again, and if we would stand with all others in the road where “two ways meet,” then, we would gladly go with Him into a new world, were He rules, like in this song. This is how Jesus of Nazareth the Christ would rule the world. Let us go with Him to His world. Halleluiah. Thanks Be To God, Amen. Blessings, Bethany