They brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and [Jesus] sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’
There have been few more moving images in recent days than the cheers that accompany doctors, nurses and medical staff as they go into battle against the coronavirus. Images from Italy and Spain were among the first we witnessed. People leaned out windows along cobblestone streets shouting encouragement, and singing songs of pride and blessing.
They showered praise on those who do dangerous and exhausting work, day-after-day. Many are the stories of those who faithfully carry out this mission despite fears that they, like colleagues, may get sick or die.
These scenes of gratitude are heart-warming, but such thanks is not nearly enough. We must do everything we can to stop the spread of this plague through social distancing and using masks in public spaces like the grocery or pharmacy, etc.
These images from our streets also remind us of the Palm Sunday procession of Jesus on his donkey. “Hosanna,” people shouted at him, which means save us.
He came to Jerusalem to serve God’s kingdom by handing himself over to brutality and crucifixion. He did so to reveal the fullness of the heart of God and to establish a new community—a kingdom where love is the air we breathe and sacrificial service is our highest value and greatest aspiration.
Look at him as he rides toward his fate, as he forgives even from his cross, as he refuses to curse those who curse him. Just look.
To understand why, during these perilous times, we cheer those who serve at the risk of their lives, it has everything to do with Jesus on his donkey. His imprint on our civilization and our souls is unmistakable.
Praise him and give thanks for what is in his heart. Give thanks that this love is in your heart, too—and especially that this grace is in the hearts of those who battle for life, every day.
— Pr. David. L Miller