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Sit Up

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” ~ John 12:14-15

Northern Hawk Owls, as their name suggests, are a bit of an outlier, part hawk, part owl. While they most definitely look like the owl that they are, they tend to behave a bit more like hawks. They hunt during the day, sitting up on a perch surveying the area for prey. The fact that they are colorful, indeed rather showy for a raptor, causes birders to sit up and take notice. The fact that they spend most of their time in remote places away from humans means that the every once in a while when they wander south to areas where we might see them is reason for excitement.

Aside from being beautiful and rare, like other boreal species, Hawk Owls seem to be fearless. That is, they don’t flush as easily as many other species. This is likely because they rarely encounter large mammals and when they do they don’t tend to pose a threat. Maybe they think of us a small, two-legged moose, who knows? That is not to say that our presence doesn’t disturb them so if you have the good fortune of encountering one, keeping respectful distance is always important. Still, it is fun to imagine that they are intentionally showing off, it certainly can feel like it.

When an ancient Roman official mounted a mighty steed, surrounded by a show of military might, there was no doubt that they were intending to be seen, respected, and feared. So when Jesus chose to make a show of sitting up on a donkey’s colt, he was choosing to create a different scene. There is a feel of street theater parody in that Palm Sunday procession. Rather than fear, surely he is asking us to see and respect the great power of self-sacrificing love. There is no doubt that the arrival of a savior is a show we don’t want to miss.

Prayer: Holy One, thank you for wowing us with spectacles of your beauty, power, and love. Amen.


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