Ride on, ride on, the time is right: the roadside crowds scream with delight; Palm branches mark the pilgrim way Where beggars squat and children play.
Ride on, ride on, your critics wait, intrigue and rumour circulate; New lies abound in word and jest, And trust becomes a suspect guest.
Ride on, ride on, while well aware that those who shout and wave and stare, Are mortals who, with common breath, Can crave for life and lust for death
Ride on, ride on, though blind with tears, though dumb to speak and deaf to jeers. Your path is clear, though few can tell Their garments pave the road to hell.
Ride on, ride on, the room is let, the wine matured, the saw is whet; And dice your death-throes shall attend Though faith, not fate, dictates your end.
Ride on, ride on, God’s love demands. Justice and peace lie in your hands. Evil and angels’ voices rhyme: This is the man and this the time.
You can hear the first verse of this to John Bell’s tune Ride On here. The more accessible tune, Winchester New, can be heard here
St Mark 11: 1-11
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.”’ They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
The time is right
How often in our lives, and indeed in our Christian lives, do we prevaricate? There is always an excuse to put things off; anything for an easy life; it will cost too much; someone else might do it; it might not work. I write just before Advent. God judged that the time was right to gift Jesus to the world. Where would the world be today if, on that morning thirty or so years later, Jesus had turned over in bed?
Your critics wait
Always. Some people delight in saying “I told you so”. Occasionally that might be encouragement, but more usually it’s likely to be gloating. More than once over my life I have been guilty of this, so perhaps proving untrustworthy. The Gospel stories suggest that Jesus never gloated; only encouraged; displaying trustworthiness; looking his critics in the eye.
While well aware
I am aware that when you read this the political landscape may have changed. Or it may not. You will know. One thing to thank God for is growing awareness of the existence of food poverty on our doorsteps. Those who use foodbanks are mortals too. Jesus was acutely aware of what he was doing and of the humanity of those in need.
Though blind with tears
What am I blinded to today? In childhood were we told “It’s no use crying over spilt milk”? Sometimes tears are all we have. But vision clears and the path ahead emerges. There might be trip hazards. Jesus did not trip.
The room is let
Plans can fall into place. Outcomes may be clear to some, but not to all. The trick is discerning whether we actually see clearly or are being deluded. Jesus could see.
God’s love demands
All. Jesus saw and knew the time was right.
Let the same mind be in us as in Christ Jesus – as he rode past beggar and child, critic and shouter, confident that the time was right.
Let the same mind be in us as in Christ Jesus – when God demands of us justice and peace and integrity to his creation the times will be right.
The Rev’d Ron Reid is a retired minister in the Mersey Synod serving as Link Minister at Rock Chapel, Farndon. He is a member at Upton-by-Chester URC.
If today’s Daily Devotion is not showing on your church’s website, this will have affected all church websites using this feed in the same way. Our volunteer technical team are probably aware of the issue and will be working to fix it as soon as they are able. Thank you.