The Donkey & the Cross

One time I was at a model horse show with my late wife Gaylene, though at the time she was my girlfriend.

Guessing that most of you reading this have not had the pleasure of attending one.    If you see that picture, this gives you an idea.  Each person that enters gets a table to put their models on, and during the day different “classes” will be called for different breeds or horse patterns and you bring up the right horse to be judged.  

Anyway… I am at the model horse show and someone says that you can order horses today from Candy Liddy’s representative.  Candy is a well-known Bronze, Resin, and other medium artist from St. Bonifacius, MN.  I talked Gaylene into her first resin horse order.  While we were trying to pick out a cool pattern to have it painted in, Gaylene asked me about Dun with the stripe.  I asked her to explain what that looked like.  Candy Liddy's representative's question took me off guard…. “Aren’t you a Christian?”  

Someone at the next table heard… soon I had a crowd of people around me shocked I didn’t know about the Dun coloration with stripe AND I was a Christian!

Are you more knowledgeable than I was about why Christians should know about equines and the Dun stripe?

What the dun stripe looks like on a horse is:

Note the zebra markings on the legs, the stripe down the back and another at the shoulders.  The last two make the mark of the cross.  So you might have an idea where this could be going.

Donkeys have this same pattern.  Well that brings us to a story that is apparently well known to model horse folks, but was new to me.

Let’s start with the Bible side what might be a familiar story:

Luke 19:29B-35

He sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord has need of it.” They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it.

Now the, probably apocryphal, side that is known to equine lovers: (Listed from Morningbrayfarm)

A poor farmer near Jerusalem owned a donkey far too small to do much work at all. He felt that he could not afford to feed a worthless animal like this, one that could do him no good whatsoever, so at the supper table he told his family that he was going to kill the donkey.

His children, who loved the little donkey, begged him to sell it rather than harm it. But the farmer said, “It’s wrong to sell an animal that can’t do a good day’s work.”

Then his oldest daughter suggested, “Father, tie the donkey to a tree on the road to town, and say whoever wants it may take it for nothing.” And the next morning, that’s what the farmer did.

Soon, two men approached and asked if they could have the donkey. “It can carry almost nothing,” the farmer warned them.

“Jesus of Nazareth has need of it,” replied one of the men. The farmer couldn’t imagine what a great teacher would want with such a worthless donkey, but he handed it over.

The men took the animal to Jesus, who stroked the grateful donkey’s face and then mounted it and rode away. So it was on the day we call Palm Sunday, Jesus led his followers into the city of Jerusalem riding on the back of a small, common donkey.

The donkey so loved his gentle master that he later followed him to Calvary. Grief-stricken by the sight of Jesus on the cross, the donkey turned away but could not leave. It was then that the shadow of the cross fell upon the shoulders and back of the donkey, and there it stayed.

Many donkeys have borne the sign of the cross on their backs since that very day.

We do not know if there is any truth to this story, but it is a cool idea.

An important question was asked to me at that show, “but, aren’t you a Christian”?
This was my second model horse show, people had no real idea who I was, but they picked up that I was a Christian.  Do people know you are a Christian as well by your attitude?  Are we correctly representing Jesus?  Has the cross made an impression on our lives, like it did on the donkey in the story?

Important questions for us as Easter approaches.  

© Vivian P. Kirkpatrick, 2016