(Two poems for this week, different styles.)
The little donkey demonstrated
How Jesus lived; but that sure grated
The nerves of certain Pharisees who
Were worried people might live up to
The loud acclaim they gave the rider
Whose way's our sole (and soul's) provider -
Provided that we're brave for shouting
God's mighty deeds, despite our doubting,
And show by dying in ways myriad,
That love will have no ending period.
Scott L. Barton
+ + +
One of my first funerals, in my first pastorate,
Was for a young man barely out of high school;
One blistering July day, he died
Working in the hay mow of the neighbor farmer.
Survived by his parents and five siblings,
An older brother had died years earlier,
Hit by a car while on his bicycle near home.
The church was packed, of course,
And somehow, we muddled through.
Then we went to the cemetery:
Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
Trusting your love and mercy,
In the sure and certain hope
Of the resurrection to eternal life.
When we were all done, the father,
Standing just an arm's length away,
Reached into his pocket,
Pulled out a pebble,
And handed it to me.
I still cry when I think about it,
Thirty-six years later.
For the previous Palm Sunday,
At the end of the sermon on this text,
I had handed out pebbles
To everyone in the congregation,
Scrounged from the manse's driveway,
And then, pretty much forgot about it,
At least until that day in July,
When a grieving father taught me
That you never know when, or how, or by whom,
The Word of God will be proclaimed.
Scott L. Barton
After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”