When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.9Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11: 1-11)
I remember that day that he entered Jerusalem. Was that only a week ago? It seems like a lifetime ago. It was celebratory and wonderful. The crowds were at ease, laughing, having a good time. The young colt was almost comic relief as Jesus’ feet hung down and almost dragged the stones beneath. After the long trip through the desert, this was the entrance into the city. No one knew what would happen. No one knew whether he would be accepted as a leader the way he finally began to be in Galilee or whether it would turn terribly wrong. We know how it turned out now, but at the time we were holding onto hope that it might go smoothly.
I also remember that by the time we reached the gate to the city, our crowd had dwindled considerably. Where did everyone go? I supposed back to their lives. How many times do we choose to return to our lives rather than stepping forward through the gate? For me, I am so grateful that I did not do that years ago when the angel came to me. Perhaps my life would have been easier, more predictable, certainly safer. But it would not have been the right life for me. This, this was the life that God envisioned for me. That’s why it feels so right. Sometimes it is painful. Sometimes it is downright scary. But more often it is filled with the glorious blessings I’ve had.
I wonder where most of us would have been that day had we known. It would have been so easy to turn back, so tempting to try to convince him to turn back, to go elsewhere with his ministry where he would be accepted and even welcomed. But I understand now that God calls us to walk through the wilderness, to traverse the unknown, to step forward through the gates that life presents in faith. God doesn’t call us to walk roads that have been paved over and over by others but rather to embark on the rough-hewed roads that need our work. It is only then that we can become who God intends us to be. It is only then that it feels right. For me, it has been the difference between an easy life and one that is truly blessed. I pray that the generations that follow me will grasp that and have the courage to go through the gate.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, Give me a light that I might go safely out into the darkness. And he replied, Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be more to you than a light, and safer than a known way. (M. L. Haskins)
FOR TODAY: What gate are you being called to enter?
Peace to you as we come closer to that holiest of nights,