Go into the village where you’ll find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them to me.
If anyone asks what you’re doing, tell them to let them go; I have need of them.
And all this was done so that the prophecy would be fulfilled.
Every Sunday morning in my household starts in meditation:
1. Roll over (at least) twice.
2. (Plan to but rarely do a decent job of) stretching.
3. Run for 2-3 hours.
(Mostly in my head; sometimes out loud).
5. I chant. I figure It out; take notes on what to wear for the week, my grocery list; collect poems, odd stares, greetings, new ways to curse buckling brick sidewalks, the roar of trucks that break my concentration, sometimes chafing, and my not-fast-enoughness (the latter of which I’m still trying to stop doing).
When I was growing up, every morning in my household started in meditation too:
1. Roll over (at least) twice.
2. (Plan to but rarely do a decent job of): eating without getting something on my outfit.
3. Walk to Sunday School; stay for Church.
(Mostly in my head; sometimes a tad above a whisper).
5. I’d chant–doxologies, call-to-worships, the whole first chapter of the Methodist hymnal if it was Communion Sunday; take notes on the “text for the day” and “the message,” my homework list; collected poems, stares and greetings, more poems, and new ways to curse the length of the Invitation for the same cat who went the altar every two weeks. (All that backsliding was good for no one–especially a hungry me).
Last weekend I did both—that is, I ran then drove to my parents’ house 4 hours away to attend church with them in celebration of Father’s Day.
Church services hold a certain nostalgia for me obviously. The pageantry, the cultural rubrics, and of course the concentrated spirituality are palpable and penetrating. I enjoy all of it for all of that even if organized religion doesn’t suit me.
The guest pastor took his message from a passage I remember handwriting–I was a weird kid what can I say–about the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem where he knew he would soon be executed. Palm Sunday is the date Christians celebrate this Entry.
I had read an illustrated version of the passage in Time and despite knowing the story from many years, by then, of that traditional Palm Sunday Sunday School lesson, the language transfixed me. So I spent an afternoon, probably two, in the school library, not requesting a Xeroxed copy of the passage but handwriting it in my notebook as if writing the language would transfer into my ability to craft words that way.
**I just remembered that ever happened. And that like many bits, I still have that notebook. It’s yellow I think.**
Jesus directs his disciple to go retrieve a donkey that’s been tied up. Very gangster move, as the donkey is not actually His. He tells his disciple that if anyone asks him what he’s doing taking this donkey, Just tell ’em I have need of them. Gangster Jesus, what?
As many times as I have heard that passage I have never thought of it as gangster despite having often thought of Jesus’ platform as such—criminal in that it went against the teachings of the time (hence his execution); organized (he had a mob—his disciples), and game-changing thus earning something akin to deference from peers and enemies alike.
I wonder if that makes it punk to demand less than what is necessary for your well being—you have need of it. I haven’t answered my own question, but I can tell you I’m leaning toward a yes.
Here’s part of why: at the end of the passage, it says Jesus’ episode was done so that prophecy would be fulfilled. The choice to demand what is necessary is not simply in service to your own needs but for the benefit of who or whatever would be affected by the decision, the demand.