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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

28 March 2012: Rev'd Jeanette Richardson, Petersfield Methodist Church

Donkey Riding

April 1st falls on Sunday, and I'm sure that many people will enjoy celebrating by playing jokes on others and having a good laugh.

On April Fool's Day the Churches in Petersfield, and beyond, will be celebrating Palm Sunday. Remembering Jesus, the King of kings, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey! Jerusalem, at that time, was full visitors gathering for the festival of Passover, and many came to hail him as their new leader, waving palm branches and laying their cloaks on the ground to make a colourful 'carpet'. A few days later these same people call for his death

We know, from the news, that the mood of crowds can easily change. It is very easy to be stirred by passionate rhetoric or to go along with popular opinion. The choices we make affect not only our lives but those who are close to us, and society as a whole. There are many voices calling us to respond in different ways and it can be hard to discern the one that will bring about peace and wholeness.

What are the basic values upon which you base your choices? Jesus called those who follow him to love one another. Not a wishy-washy sort of love, but a love that is based on respect, justice, forgiveness and sacrifice.

Perhaps that may seem idealistic and even foolish. Just as foolish, maybe, as a king who rode on a donkey, proclaiming the way of peace rather than an exhibition of power.

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