The speed of love

March 26, 2013 — 4 Comments

We had a wonderful service of praise on Palm Sunday. People from the nations processed around the church as they waved palm branches, singing and dancing with joy. It was a celebration fit for a king.
lilies 547

Palms aren’t hard to find or expensive to buy here. In fact, palm trees are so commonplace the long branches are used to sweep the streets.
2013 1 8 rabat 030

Yet I’ve never seen palms used for a festive occasion in this country. It makes me wonder how citizens would view using them to fete the arrival of someone important.

I have no doubt though what they would think about an acclaimed leader coming in on a donkey. They would see it as a dishonorable, even shameful act because a donkey is considered dirty and unclean. Used as a beast of burden, frequently overloaded and sometimes whipped, a donkey would not be worthy to carry such a person.


So it makes you wonder what Jesus had in mind when He rode into Jerusalem at the start of Holy Week on a young donkey. Was He making a pointed commentary about pomp and power? Because there is something inherently ironic about a grown man riding a small donkey.

donkey & rider

Here if you want to communicate strength and respect, you’d find an Arabian steed, outfitted with a beautiful saddle and bridle.
fantasia 086

You’d ride with a regal canter and when you really wanted to intimidate, you’d charge with a powerful gallop.
fantasia 014

If you couldn’t afford a horse, you would at least get your friends to carry you above the crowd on a ceremonial chair.

4 22 11 csj four 110

Yet riding the donkey turns out to be the highlight of the week for Jesus. It goes from bad to worse, with betrayal and arrest, trial and beating. Soon He is walking to his death, dragging the cross behind him. He has become the beast of burden.

2013 3 26 rabat rol 046

He dies a criminal’s death.

And then at last comes the moment of triumph. The biggest enemy of all, death, is vanquished and defeated. Jesus rises from the dead.

In any standard hero story–take The Lord of the Rings for example–the conquering king always returns in a proud parade accompanied by his trusty companions. As he rides through the city, he is greeted by cheering citizens paying tribute to his bravery and valor.

fantasia 062

So you would think that even if Jesus bypassed pomp on Palm Sunday, at this point, having risen triumphantly from the dead, He would be ready to return in glory.

But Jesus does not follow the usual storyline. Even at the climax, He chooses the quiet way. He slips back without any fanfare, walking alongside His friends on the road to Emmaus.

There are no crowds. There are no trumpets.There is still no earthly crown for the King of Kings.

Everything is finished, but here in this world the journey remains.

2011 9 13 usa three 038

Jesus returns as a wise, listening Friend, coming alongside of us as we plod on.
The pace stays slow and steady, the speed of love.

4 responses to The speed of love


    Thank you for posting this; I enjoyed it. :)


    Beautiful! And I know this wasn’t your point, but how I miss the Easter week services with you all!!

I'd love to hear what you are thinking...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s