If God is perfect at everything, he’s also the perfect comedian. He delivers killer punch lines that bring the house down. His jokes are unrivaled. And he knows the truth that all comedians know: one of the key ingredients to a good joke is surprise.
And nothing is more surprising—and hilarious—than what we celebrate today.
@@Palm Sunday wins the prize for the biggest belly laugh of the year.@@
The Absolute Monarch of the Cosmos, the Biggest Guy, the Destroyer of all puny gods, coming bouncing into Jerusalem astride one of the most ridiculous animals ever to grace our planet.
God shows up on an ass:
“With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.”
--G. K. Chesterton
The devil’s walking parody is our Lord’s Popemobile. The Head of the Church on the mascot of Hee Haw. He’s not lugged around by meatheads with bulging biceps. His vehicle is humility, simplicity, ridiculousness.
God’s telling a joke. And after we’re done laughing at this silly divinity, we realize that the true joke is on us. And it’s this: “Jesus, the Savior of humankind, rides awkwardly on a plodding donkey to a prepared spot where he’d soon die for a whole wide world of asses. Jesus rides upon the thing he’d soon die for,” A. J. Swoboda (A Glorious Dark).
Palm Sunday is the rehearsal for Good Friday.
Today he’s carried by those for whom he’ll carry the cross.
An ass—like we are.
A recalcitrant creature known for resisting its master—like we are.
We carry our Lord into the city in which he’ll carry the cross for us.
It’s quite the joke, this plan of Jesus. The best kind of joke—the one that makes us laugh so hard we cry. And in those tears receive the baptism of truth. And in that truth realize that this crazy deed of God, this surprise entry, this shocking death, and this jaw-dropping wonder of a once-dead God strolling around again on Easter—this is the best joke ever told.
God’s done it again. He’s brought the house down. And he's brought us into his kingdom.
@@An ass, a God, and a High Priest walk into a bar….@@
You know the rest.
A blessed Holy Week to you all.
My new book, Your God Is Too Glorious: Finding God in the Most Unexpected Places, is now available. You can order copies from Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite local bookstore.