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Pentecost 5, 2017 — 9 Jul 17

Pentecost 5, 2017

RCL Year A Proper 9 Alternate Readings
Zechariah 9:9-12, Psalm 145:8-15, Romans 7:15-25a, Saint Matthew 11:16-19 and 25-30

Anyone for a king riding a donkey?

Less is more. Certainly you have heard that. Less is more in today’s Gospel, and less is more in the first lesson from Zechariah.

Why should it be so? Why should a king ride a donkey and not a war horse? And why should Jesus’ sayings and insights be hidden “from the wise and the intelligent” but be revealed to infants?[1]

The answer I have is appropriately lackluster. The answer, itself, is a Dodge Dart rather than a Ferrari. It is less rather than more. And the answer is this.

God, being God, can be lackluster. God does not have to be spiffy or flashy or specially attractive. When all is said and done, God will still be God. God need not be in a great wind or an earthquake or a fire; God can afford to be in the sheer silence, as Elijah was to discover.[2]

And, along these lines, God’s purpose may be better served by less rather than more, for God wants us to be, in comparison with him, less rather than more. We enter his way and his life by but one entry. We enter by subordinating our will to his. To be less rather than more is, as Jesus says in today’s Gospel, to take on his easy yoke and his light burden.[3]

For a God like this, a manger will do for a crib, and a cross will do for a throne; a sacrament will do to bind us to him for time and for eternity.

But, make no mistake, God takes a risk in the preferential option for less. Preferring a donkey, a manger, a cross and a sacrament runs a very big risk. We human beings prefer the new, the shiny, the flashy—we are attracted by more rather than less. The risk a humble God runs by choosing less is this. God runs the risk that we would forget or just not pay attention. We would not let that happen, would we?


[1] Saint Matthew 11:25.

[2] I Kings 19:11-12.

[3] Saint Matthew 11:20.

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