The Colt

The Colt That Had Never Been Ridden

Luke 19:28–40

Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem. When he was near the Mount of Olives, he told two of the disciples, “Go into the village ahead, and you’ll find a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

So they went into the village and found the animal just as he had told them. While 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 had now come to the path that led down from the Mount of Olives, all of the disciples began to shout joyful praises to God for all the miracles they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace and glory in heaven!”

When Jesus went on his way
to Jerusalem —
when he knew
that his time had come,
he chose to ride
on the back of a young donkey
that had never before been ridden.

All the pictures,
statues, and stained glass
have convinced us that
his mount was meek and mild;
and it gently and carefully
carried the Lord —
as tenderly as a mother
with her child.

But I have a cowgirl friend
who says that’s awful wrong.

She says that unridden donkeys
aren’t a bit that way:
they don’t take kindly to passengers,
especially folks they’ve never met;
and they aren’t too fond
of being told what to do:
when to stop and go,
which direction to turn,
or what path to follow.

What they do
is shake and jump
and thrash around,
they’ll even try
to scrape the rider off
against a wall or fence —
anything at all
to get that load of trouble
off their back.

A young donkey
that had never before been ridden
is a creature demanding
the utmost caution
and greatest respect.

A young donkey
that had never before been ridden
isn’t the least bit
cooperative or friendly
or calm or cuddly
or obedient
at all.

What that means —
so my equine-loving friend says —
is that if it really happened
the way the Gospel tells it;
if the Lord rode a young donkey
that had never before been ridden
serenely, successfully,
regally ….

if the colt really were
docile and obedient,
if it carried the Lord
as tenderly as a mother
holding her child …

then Jesus
was a Horse Whisperer:
a specially-gifted,
special soul
with special understanding
of the wild and wary nature
of one of Creation’s
most opinionated
mammals.

And it is a special Message
for miners and muleteers,
cowboys and cowgirls,
ranchers and rodeo clowns —
letting them know
that the Lord has need of them,
too.

For only they would think
to ask about that donkey
that had never before been ridden,
and only they could guide us
to an answer
that reveals the Gospel
in a new way.

It’s another answer
to the question
that rears its head
when people meet up
with Jesus
on their life paths:

“What sort of man is this,
that even the winds
and the sea
(and the wild things)
obey him?”

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

Deborah Beach Giordano
© February 28, 2010

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About inklingscommunity

I am a struggling Christian, committed pacifist, near-obsessive recycler, incurable animal lover, inveterate tree-hugger; a nature mystic, a socialized introvert, an advocate for the vulnerable, an opponent of exploiters.
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