The Lord has need of it… (Mk 11:3)
Take a Moment to Ponder
Today we commemorate the life of Absalom Jones the first black priest in the Episcopal Church (Anglican) in the United States. Born in the late 1700s when enslavement was still present in his country and with a commitment to read and write, Jones taught himself to read the Bible and was prepared to take on a leadership position in the Church. Along with Richard Allen, they became members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, however, due to racial discrimination which created a division in the Church in the seating arrangements in which blacks and whites could no longer sit together, the two men chose to leave and start their own church. This new church grew in numbers and eventually Allen chose to go on his own while Jones chose to join the Episcopal Church. He was immediately given leadership of the congregation he helped to start and eventually was ordained deacon and priest. His life and service demonstrate a commitment to serve God and people and he did so with dedication, faithfulness, and commitment.
It is this commitment and faithfulness we see at work in the disciples’ preparation for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in the reading from Mark 11:1-11. In 11:3 the specific reference is to Jesus’ choice of a donkey to ride into Jerusalem to dispel any notion that he was fulfilling a military and not a divine messianic vocation. Mark says “the Lord has need of it” in reference to the donkey but in a broader sense to anything necessary for carrying out the mission of the church, especially in difficult and challenging times. Whether it is faith, commitment, service, money, or other material things the Lord needs them to spread the gospel and this was true in Mark’s time as the early Christians faced persecution in the first century, especially in cases where people were being killed for their faith. Mark reminds us Jesus needs all that we have and all that we are for the service of the kingdom and Absalom Jones and countless others after him represent a life dedicated to God and rooted in confidence that whatever happens, we will persist in faithfulness and love for God and all God’s people.
Take a moment to think about a mission activity – such as speaking with someone you do not know about Jesus – and share with her/him what you think Jesus needs for her/him to do.
A Moment of Prayer
God of all goodness, give me yourself,
For you are sufficient for me.
I may not ask for anything less
Than what befits my full worship of you.
If I were to ask anything less
I should always be in want,
For in you alone do I have all. Amen
(Julian of Norwich 1342-1416)
Contributed by Rt Rev Garth Minott
Bishop of Kingston