A psalm for Palm Sunday

King Jesus
why did you choose
a lowly ass
to carry you
to ride in your parade?
Had you no friend
who owned a horse
— a royal mount with spirit
fit for a king to ride?
Why choose an ass
small unassuming
beast of burden
trained to plow
not carry kings.

King Jesus
why did you choose
me
a lowly unimportant person
to bear you
in my world today?
I’m poor and unimportant
trained to work
not carry kings
— let alone the King of Kings
and yet you’ve chosen me
to carry you in triumph
in this world’s parade.
King Jesus
keep me small
so all may see
how great you are
keep me humble
so all may say
Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord
not what a great ass he rides.

Joseph Bayly

Psalms of My Life

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I have a tiny wee crush on Augustine

He knew what’s what, I tells you. When I read him, I find myself gazing fondly at the words in a demi-fugue state, as if tasting caramel. I’m not worried: these little crushes never last, of course, although it has been a wee while…

Great are you, O Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; your power is immense, and your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so we men, who are a due part of your creation, long to praise you – we also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.

 
Grant me to know and understand, Lord, which comes first. To call upon you or to praise you? To know you or to call upon you? Must we know you before we can call upon you? Anyone who invokes what is still unknown may be making a mistake. Or should you be invoked first, so that we may then come to know you? But how can people call upon someone in whom they do not yet believe? And how can they believe without a preacher?

Who will grant it to me to find peace in you? Who will grant me this grace, that you should come into my heart and inebriate it, enabling me to forget the evils that beset me and embrace you, my only good? What are you to me? Have mercy on me, so that I may tell. What indeed am I to you, that you should command me to love you, and grow angry with me if I do not, and threaten me with enormous woes? Is not the failure to love you woe enough in itself?

 
Alas for me! Through your own merciful dealings with me, O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul, I am your salvation. Say it so that I can hear it. My heart is listening, Lord; open the ears of my heart and say to my soul, I am your salvation. Let me run towards this voice and seize hold of you. Do not hide your face from me: let me die so that I may see it, for not to see it would be death to me indeed.