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Precious streams, precious weaves

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 24 March 2013

For many years at St Martin’s we have been blessed to have a donkey joining us on our Palm Sunday procession, often lovely Larry from Hackney City Farm.

Two particular occasions stand out in my memory.  The first was when the donkey, in the sanctuary, treated us to a very tangible illustration of what was then a favourite catchphrase, ‘the mess in the middle’.  The second was when Larry, this time in Trafalgar Square, showed impeccable timing by emptying his bladder as we sang, ‘Blessed through endless ages be the precious stream’.

These two bits of donkey toilet aside, my main association with our beloved annual visitor is the baskets that the donkey carries on his back.  These baskets – woven from simple materials, yet intricately beautiful – carry the palm crosses that will later be distributed to everyone present; the crosses themselves are woven from strands of palm.

In John’s Passion story, we read how the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothing – it was seamlessly woven, so they didn’t want to lessen its value by tearing it.  As a church, we are not called to be seamless.  We couldn’t be if we tried.  Like the baskets carried by the donkey and like the threads that make up St Martin’s logo, our ‘beauty’ comes from the weaving together of different strands, different lives, and often different views.  It is this precious and careful weaving that creates something strong enough to hold Jesus.

Ali Lyon