Reblogged from: Orange Community of Christ’s “Peace Blog”
I had an hour of spiritual practice time. It was entirely dedicated to pursuing reflection and connection with the divine. There was a labyrinth set up, there were journals available, there were meditative drawings that I could reflect with. But here is the thing; I was in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. There was a racing creek right outside, snow capped mountains waiting to be seen by my eyes, birds flying back and forth, but beyond that were blessings waiting to reveal themselves.
So I walked outside and went to the bridge that crossed the raging creek and sat down. The water was moving swiftly over the rocks. It was crashing through the earth in a hurry as it made it’s way down the mountain. I sat down and began to have communion with God. I began to reflect on what had already been a terrific weekend. I was running through the abundance of thankfulness I was feeling from such a great retreat experience.
(Just so you know, Katie and I spent the weekend as guest ministers at the Rockies Young Adult Retreat at a Dude Ranch called Peaceful Valley)
As I was letting my heart dwell with God, letting my heart flow with the breeze and the water, I felt the prompting to move over to an enclosure that was just over the bridge. When I walked over to the small pasture I found a donkey gently grazing around having some dinner. As soon as the donkey heard me coming we made eye contact. Now, I am a city boy. I don’t know how donkeys act, I don’t know what they like, I don’t know how to touch them, but I thought I would give it a go. See, I was in the midst of connecting with the divine and my thought was, “What a wonderful opportunity to experience God through this creature!” So I made my way closer to him and he made his way closer to me. We met and I stuck my hand out in the same way that you do when you meet a new dog for the first time. The donkey rubbed against my hand as if to tell me to start rubbing his nose and head. I began to pet him and I swear he smiled at me. He opened his big old mouth and grinned his teeth at me. I instantly felt a connection to this silly creature. His coat was coarse and dirty. I patted his neck and back and dust flew into the air. I don’t know how to take care of a donkey, but this one seemed to be left to himself for the most part. The meadow he was eating in was mowed clean. I decided to begin to pick the abundance of grass that surrounded me on the outside of the fence. As soon as I leaned forward with a handful of greens and dandelions he smiled with joy again.
Here is why this is perfect for the peace blog. The donkey is the lowliest of creatures in the equestrian world. It is not a beautiful stallion, it isn’t a giant Clydesdale, it isn’t exotic, it isn’t fast. But yet, the donkey is what Jesus rides into Jerusalem. The donkey is what Jesus uses to flip this world’s understanding of power and status into love and peace. The donkey for Jesus is an ambassador for Peace.
While I fed that donkey, I realized I was having communion with God. I was in the presence of creation. I was aware of the time and perfection of what many would consider and insignificant part of creation. I experienced peace with an animal that doesn’t get the glory of a horse, the honor of a Clydesdale, or the tourism of a Zebra. I was with God, having a peaceful agape meal.