Thursday, March 13, 2008

The View From Atop a Donkey's Back

What did He see that Sunday as He rode on the back of a donkey's colt up the steep grade into the city of Jerusalem -- a city which meant so much to Him. What did He notice through the tears?

The Palm Sunday passage is such a bittersweet portion of Scripture. Jesus, being hailed as king by the peasants, yet being despised and laughed at by the Roman soldiers. What did He see in the eyes of those hypocrites asking Him to silence the crowd? Did it please Him to hear the sound of "Hosanna!" in His ears, all the while knowing that the shouts would turn to cries of "Crucify!" in just a matter of days?

The words of the gospels seem so poignant at that moment where Jesus breaks out into tears, crying over the lost people that He wishes to protect under the shelter of His wings. It seems that the rest of the happenings of that ride are almost inconsequential to Him. He is broken-hearted over the lost. He knows He will save some. He wants to save all.

My mind often travels back to the post I wrote about the show, "The Moment of Truth" a few days ago. There's that question featured in the photo, "Do you really care about the starving children in Africa?" I don't know how the contestant answered that question, but I would have to believe that there is a better-than-average chance she had to honestly say "no." It's trendy to say you care, but mustering up a lot of love and concern over some people you'll never meet and have precious little in common with... well, it's tough for the average Joe or Jo.

But the same issue plagues the Church. Do we really care about the lost? Do we ache for them? Do we actually love them? Or do we look at them as folks who are happy in their hedonism or forget 'em? If we're brutally honest with ourselves, we are probably closer to the latter than the former. Sad, aren't we?

Jesus wasn't like that. He looked out upon that city and saw the prostitutes, the godless, the hypocrites, the homosexuals, the rich, the powerful, the stubborn, the self-absorbed, the drunks, and the average Joes. His reaction? Deep sorrow for their loss.

What is your reaction? What is the reaction of the person in the pew behind you? In front of you? Beside you? Do we see people without Christ the way He saw them? If no, then why not?

Climb on the back of the donkey -- not for the cheers of adulation, but so we can see better the faces of those we struggle to care about.

"Lord, help me to see others the same way You saw them on that Sunday morning, and the way You still see them today."

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