In the late 1970s, Japanese company Nintendo launched the new video game Donkey Kong, despite the featured character in the game being a gorilla. I understand they originally planned the game to be called “Monkey Kong,” as the villain was a monkey, but at some point during its development, changed it to Donkey Kong. When the Japanese creators discovered “donkey” was a word for “stupid” in English, they thought it would be funny to name the game after a “stupid” gorilla. And that, my friends, is how Donkey Kong got its name!
Without disputing the intellect of these four-hoofed creatures, we have seen these animals depicted in many ways. For example, consider what are probably the most popular animated characters from the entertainment industry. On the one hand, Shrek’s sidekick and best pal, Donkey, voiced by comedian Eddie Murphy, is beloved for his wit, wisdom, and humor. Conversely, Eeyore, Winnie-the-Pooh’s pal is the epitome of pessimism, gloominess, and depression.
Whether dumb, funny, or sad, donkeys were considered important animals in Biblical times. They were used as a common source of transportation, and also reflected someone’s wealth. Job’s holdings included 500 donkeys which he doubled after his restoration. Abraham’s donkeys were considered an indication of his financial status.
There are two notable stories in the Bible about donkeys. The first is Balaam’s talking donkey and the angel (Numbers 22:22-31). The second is Jesus riding upon a donkey for his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We will hear that story this weekend on Palm Sunday.
You may know about the legend of a donkey’s cross. Donkeys have a dark line starting between the ears and running down the spine to the tip of the tail, with another intersecting horizontally between the shoulders. Folklore tells us that the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem stayed with him and stood at a distance from the crucifixion. Jesus looked down at the donkey and cast the shadow of the cross on the loyal beast as a reminder of our Lord’s love and compassion.
This Sunday, April 2nd, weather permitting, we will have two donkey guests, Noah and Louise, join us between our 8:00 AM (spoken) or 10:15 AM (traditional) worship services. Please join us and see the cross marks on our special guests. We also worship at 6:00 PM (contemporary). Celebrate Palm Sunday and observe the Passion of Our Lord with us.