Story: The Wind

May 28, 2023

Numbers 11:24-30
Acts 2:1-21

I want to talk to you about the wind.

The wind made its way across the ocean. In the distance it could see the green slopes of Hawai’i Island and the great mountains rising. As it swept over the sea, it took water vapor that the sun had raised from the waters and pushed it ahead as growing clouds. As the clouds passed over Hilo, they showered the earth with rain.

The wind moved on, and now the clouds dispersed on the shoulders of the mountains, and the sun poured down in shimmering waves. The wind blew through the town and over the fields, and it cooled the stifling heat. As it did, it blew hard enough to pluck hats from heads and turn umbrellas inside out before they could be closed.

A nene near seaside turned into the wind and spread her wings. The flowing air began to lift her even before she swept them down in a powerful stroke. The wind helped carry her aloft until she turned to fly inland.

Not just birds, but seeds flew on the wind, so that new plants would grow.

In places the wind eased things, but in places I have to admit that the wind broke things. Nails in a roof popped loose. An old tree tumbled to the ground, where its trunk would nourish new trees yet to grow there. A sudden gust scattered a myna’s nest over the ground, and the parents-to-be screeched and started building again.

The flowing wind swept over the summit of Kilauea, where fumes rise from the volcano’s liquid heart beneath. It carried the sulfur and tiny flecks of glassy ash further along the island, dispersing them as it went. Oh, they smelled it and they frowned in Kona!

But when the sun set, those bits of glassy ash caught the light and glowed in red and orange and gold. The people and the creatures and the birds gazed at it with satisfaction. “It’s a Kona sunset,” they said.

The wind laughed to hear them say it, for the Kona sunset depends on the Kilauea wind.

And the wind blew on, far over the Pacific Ocean to lands far distant from our shores, blowing where it will.

It’s an old, old thing to compare the Holy Spirit of God to the winds that blow across our planet. In the ancient languages of the Bible, and also in Hawaiian (but not in English) the words for “wind,” “breath,” and “spirit” are the same: Ruach. Pneuma. Ha. Like the winds of earth, the Holy Spirit brings the things of life, for the spirit as well as the body. Like the wind beneath the wings of the birds, the Holy Spirit can lift us up. Like the wind that brings down trees, the Holy Spirit will shake our ideas and assumptions and make us consider new things. Like the wind that creates a Kona sunset, the Holy Spirit creates, helps us create, and helps us appreciate, beauty.

The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to the world, to the Church of Jesus, and most of all, to you.

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

On Sunday I tell the story from memory of the story I’ve written – and I rarely strive to remember it word for word. The differences are part of the creative process – or so I tell myself.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

Story: Eyes on Where You’re Going

May 21, 2023

Acts 1:6-14
John 17:1-11

I was a little sad when I realized this week that, because of our Sunday School recognition time, I wouldn’t be telling a story. I’m told that the young people and the people who’ve been young people quite a long time – you know, those young people – appreciate those stories. So I’m sorry that there’s no story today.

Once upon a time there was a young ‘apapane who was struggling with flying.

So, OK, I wasn’t sorry about there not being a story for very long.

This young ‘apapane’s problem was not, in fact, flying. He had mastered all the tricky business of holding his wings just so, and moving them down just so, and moving them back up just so, so that he moved forward through the air without diving or climbing or veering off to the left or slanting off to the right. Straight and level – it was so pretty to watch.

It was also, to some extent, the problem. Straight and level works just fine when you’re above the treetops or there’s short trees or bushes or grasses beneath you. When you’re in the trees, though, straight and level is a recipe for straight into a painful encounter with a tree branch.

He could turn just fine, and go up and down. Somewhere along the line, however, someone told him to fix his eyes right ahead, and not to look to either side. “Keep your eyes on where you’re going,” they said, and that’s what he did. It was kind of an accomplishment, actually, because an ‘apapane’s eyes are on the sides of the head, so they’re always looking all around. But he learned to focus, and he kept his focus, and it worked just fine until he whacked a wing on a cluster of leaves to one side, or smacked his feet against blossoms just below, or clocked his head against a tree branch that was just out of the tiny circle where he’d been looking.

He struggled with flying, and it was a painful struggle.

One evening as he was nursing a headache his grandmother asked him what he thought he was doing. “I’m keeping my eyes on what’s ahead of me,” he said.

“Then why do you keep flying into things?” she asked.

“Because they’re off to one side,” he said.

I will spare you the long lecture she gave him about the need to pay attention to more than what’s just ahead of you. Although maybe I shouldn’t – because you and I, we have to pay attention to more than just what’s right in front of us, too, don’t we? There’s the things that are coming from one side or the other. If we keep our eyes on our footsteps we’ll bonk our heads on what’s above. If we think only about what’s just in front of us, how can we ever be ready for what’s coming farther along?

The long lecture from his grandmother stung, I admit. But not as much as his head and his wings and his feet hurt from all those collisions. He learned to look ahead, and to the side, and up and down, and beyond.

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

This story was told from a copy of the text above, so the usual warnings about differences due to memory don’t apply. Instead, there are differences because there are differences.

Photo of two ‘apapane by Eric Anderson.

Story: The Unexpected Peacemaker

May 14, 2023

Acts 17:22-31
John 14:15-21

A peaceful morning on a Hawaiian beach was… less than peaceful. There were birds screeching – at least two birds and birds of different kinds screeching. There was also a sound that was harder to identify because it’s so rarely heard. A nearby cat decided she had to find out what was causing all the ruckus.

Besides, it was interrupting her first nap of the day. She’d really prefer that it stopped.

The loudest voice was, predictably, a myna. The other bird voice turned out to be a koa’e kea, and it was nearly as loud as the myna. The third voice wasn’t a bird at all. It was a honu, and although she wasn’t as loud as the two birds, she put plenty of passion into her part of the argument. Because it was a three way full scale all out argument.

The cat really wanted them to stop. She briefly considered a hunting charge, which would certainly drive off the myna and might startle the koa’e kea into flying away. She decided not to, though. It would just add more chaos to a chaotic morning.

“What,” she asked, “are you three arguing about?”

“They do it all wrong!” said the myna, and was promptly echoed by the other two.

“They do it all wrong!” they shouted in chorus.

“They do what all wrong?” asked the cat, who really wanted to bury her head in the sand and take her early morning nap rather than ask about an argument she didn’t care about.

“Eggs!” “Chicks!” “Hatchlings!”

“Children!” all three said at once.

“This one doesn’t even build a nest!” shrieked the myna, indicating the koa’e kea. “She just lays her egg on any old shelf in the rock.”

“That one buries her eggs in the sand!” shouted the koa’e kea, “and goes away and doesn’t take care of them!”

“The mynas build their nests in a tree!” rumbled the honu. “Anybody could find those eggs and break them!”

The three continued to explain – well, argue – that their method for laying eggs and raising children was the only right way to do it, and how the others’ failure to do it that was indicated a complete lack of good sense and proper parental responsibility. The cat, who didn’t lay eggs at all, was getting a headache.

“Can we find some common ground?” she said.

“Like what?” they demanded.

“Like the common ground of this island. You all lay your eggs on this island, even if they are in different places in different ways.”

They had to agree that was true.

“And do you get children who thrive?” asked the cat.

“I do.” “Of course I do!” “I’ve got over a hundred children swimming in the ocean,” said the honu. The myna and the koa’e kea looked startled.

“And do you do the very best you can to make your eggs and your children safe, even if those ways are different?” asked the cat, and watched each head nod, and a thoughtful look come into each pair of mothers’ eyes.

“Then I think you’ve got some common ground,” said the cat.

“I guess we do,” said the myna. “More than I thought,” said the koa’e kea.

“Good,” said the cat. “Talk to one another. Maybe you’ll find more common ground. Maybe you’ll learn something from each other. Keep talking.”

“Quietly,” she added as she turned away to resume her early morning nap.

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

I tell these stories from memory of the text I’d prepared (which you’ve just read). My memory isn’t that good and my delight in improvising is so great that the story as told may be rather different from the story as prepared.

Photos of a myna (left), koa’e kea or white-tailed tropicbird (upper right), and a honu or green sea turtle (lower right) by Eric Anderson.

Story: Show Me the Spiders

May 7, 2023

Acts 7:55-60
John 14:1-14

The ‘elepaio was hungry. He had been up and down, back and forth, and side to side on his favorite koa tree. He’d found a caterpillar, a few smallish bugs, and no spiders at all. This was unusual. His favorite tree was normally a favorite place for caterpillars, bugs, and spiders as well. On this day, however, they’d mostly decided to go someplace else.

He was hungry.

He searched the tree once more from top to bottom and all the way to the ends of its long branches. He found a couple more bugs, but no spiders at all. He was particularly fond of spiders, at least he was on this day when he couldn’t find any. He perched on a branch and sang a short, sad, “I’m hungry,” kind of song.

“What’s wrong?” came a voice from a neighboring tree. It was a friend of his, another ‘elepaio, and she seemed concerned.

“I’m hungry,” he complained, “and all I’ve found are a few bugs, one caterpillar, and no spiders at all.”

His friend was puzzled. She was not hungry. She’d been foraging in a couple of ohi’a trees all morning and had quite a nice breakfast from them.

“How strange,” she said. “I’ve been having a nice breakfast, myself.”

“I’m not sure I believe you,” he said. “It’s been such a miserable morning.”

Fortunately his friend decided not to be insulted. “Where have you been looking?” she asked. “Perhaps you’ve just been unlucky.”

“Right here,” he said, “here in my favorite tree.”

“Where else?” she asked.

“Where else would I look?” he said.

She was silent for a moment before she suggested, “Well, anywhere else, I would think.”

“How would I find spiders in anything but a nice koa tree?” he asked. “Why would they want to be anywhere else but this, their favorite tree?”

“There are plenty of them over here in this ohi’a tree,” she said.

“Show me the spiders,” he said, “and I’ll believe.”

For a moment his friend was offended this time – it feels bad when your friends tell you they don’t believe you. She decided to make allowances because he was hungry. Sometimes when creatures are hungry they get hangry, you know. She took a quick look around, made a hop or two to the side, and plucked something off a cluster of ohi’a leaves. Then she spread her wings and flew over to settle beside her hungry friend.

She said nothing because she had a spider in her beak. She set it down next to him. He looked at it.

“Sometimes you’ve got to look in more places than you expect,” she said.

“I guess so,” he said.

“Let’s have some breakfast together,” she said.

So they did.

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

There was a problem with the lavaliere microphone at the beginning of the story. Thanks to our technical crew I switched to a working microphone after a short time.

Photo of an ‘elepaio by Bettina Arrigoni, HarmonyonPlanetEarth – Hawaii Elepaio (male) | Pu’u O’o Trail | Big Island | HI | 2015-11-06at15-07-453, CC BY 2.0,

Story: Will the Myna Ever Learn to Share?

April 30, 2023

Acts 2:42-47
John 10:1-10

Two humans were watching a small flock of mynas. The mynas were doing myna things, which was basically hopping around the grass looking for things to eat, finding the things to eat, and then eating them. By and large this went fine, but every once in a while one myna would hop closer to another myna, and sometimes the second myna would object, and then the first myna would object, and the result would be a lot of myna noise that was… objectionable.

The two humans shook their heads at this. One wondered, “Will the myna ever learn to share?”

They kept watching and somehow didn’t notice that when one myna objected to another myna, it wasn’t trying to steal food. It wasn’t trying to chase it away from food. It just wanted space. A little space. A little more space than you’re giving me, please. Thank you very much and would you kindly remember that for next time you…!

They squabbled about spacing. Not about feeding. Somehow the two people failed to notice that the mynas were sharing by making sure everybody had a spot to hunt for things to eat.

Eventually the humans got hungry. One had prepared a really nice lunch, with lettuce and pickles on the sandwich along with spreads and meats and cheeses. When one of the mynas managed to get a crumb later, she thought the bread was pretty special, too. With the sandwich the person had a big bottle of flavored ice tea. The mynas never learned how that tasted. The human finished every drop. Oh, and there were chips and a salad and there was chocolate for dessert. The mynas didn’t taste any of those, either.

The other human had a sandwich, but the space between the slices of bread was a lot thinner. No greenery poked out the sides. The myna consensus from trying the bread crumbs later was that it was pretty ordinary bread, rather lacking in flavor. This person drank water and had no other food than the sandwich. They finished sooner than the person with the bigger lunch, and didn’t taste any more of that than the mynas did.

Later on, the two people stopped watching the mynas for the day and got set to return home. The one with the nicer lunch got into a big, shiny car. The one with the small lunch got into a smaller car with dull paint and a few rust marks. When they drove off the small car left behind a cloud of oil-smelling smoke.

Two of the mynas looked at one another. One of them asked, “Do you think humans will ever learn to share?”

In fairness to the humans, one of them was sharing knowledge with the other – teacher to student. But still, doesn’t that question linger:

Will humans ever learn to share?

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

I tell the stories from my memory of the text I’ve written. Sometimes memory changes things. Sometimes creativity does. To be honest, it’s hard to tell one from the other.

Photo of a common myna by Eric Anderson.

Story: Flight School

April 23, 2023

Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Luke 24:13-35

The myna chick was in flight school.

She’d already been to flight school, but now she was in a different flight school. The first flight school was what you think it is, and her instructors were mostly her parents, with occasional helpful contributions from random mynas near the nest – because a myna has something to say about just about anything – and not-so-helpful contributions from her sisters and brother, who also had plenty to say about her first attempts at flight but they didn’t really know any more about it than she did, and sometimes less.

They were mynas, of course, so they had something to say about it whether they knew anything or not.

She had graduated flight school, however, with flying colors. By which I mean, she could fly.

And now she was in flight school. This one, however, was not about flying. It was about fleeing. The first flight school taught her how to make her way through the air. The second flight school taught her about the things to fly away from.

There were a good number of them. The problem was that she found it all very boring. The instructors would suddenly shriek, “Cat!” and all the students would fly away. Then they’d do it again. And again. It was tiring. And boring.

When everybody was wing-weary and tired, the teachers announced a short break. The students scattered to the trees to rest.

Our myna hadn’t been settled long when some other birds also perched on nearby branches of her tree. She didn’t know much about them. There was a kolea, and a couple of finches and doves, and a yellow-billed cardinal. She was really startled, though, when a very large bird with long white wings and long legs settled near the top of the tree. Nobody else seemed to move, however, so she folded the wings she’d planned to fly away with. Her flight school lessons hadn’t moved on to birds yet.

“Startled, little one?” said a voice from above and behind her.

“Yes,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve seen a bird that large before.”

“Don’t worry,” said the voice. “That’s a cattle egret. They don’t hunt mynas.”

“Are there birds that hunt mynas?” she asked.

“Certainly,” said the voice. “Not a lot, but they do enjoy a tasty bit of myna when they can get it.”

“What birds are those?” she asked, not sure she wanted to know.

“There’s the pueo,” said the voice. “They have very flat faces and big eyes, and they fly really quietly. You want to fly away from those.”

“Anything else?” asked the myna.

“Definitely,” said the voice. “Watch out for the ‘io. It’s got a sharp curved beak, large pointed talons, and big broad wings. It can spot you from high up in the sky.”

“At least it doesn’t roost in trees,” sighed the myna.

“Who says it doesn’t?” said the voice. The myna turned her head, and saw a larger bird with cream and brown feathers, bright eyes, a curved beak and sharp talons on its great feet. The finches leapt from the tree with a screech of “’Io!” followed by all the other birds – except the ‘io, who didn’t happen to be hungry.

She didn’t find flight school boring after that. She wanted to know everything about identifying the creatures around her – the ones to fly away from and the ones who wouldn’t harm her. She lived her life grateful for an ‘io who would tell her the truth.

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

I tell these stories during worship from my memory of the story as written (that’s the text you’ve just read). My memory is… not photographic.

I did take the photo of the ‘io at the top of the page.

Story: Unconvinced

April 16, 2023

Acts 2:14a, 22-32
John 20:19-31

The saffron finch was unconvinced.

He’d had a long conversation with the kolea as they both searched for food in the grass. They were mostly looking for the same things: seeds, bugs, and so on. Fortunately there was plenty to be found, so the saffron finch’s dissatisfaction had nothing to do with how much or how little he was getting to eat. No.

It was that the kolea was preparing for the journey to Alaska, and the saffron finch thought this sounded like a bad idea. I mean, a Bad Idea with Capital Letters.

“Have you ever been in Hawai’i over the summer?” he demanded of the kolea between mouthfuls.

“No,” said the kolea. “Have you ever been in Alaska during the summer?”

The saffron finch had no reply to this. “It couldn’t be better than Hawai’i during the summer,” he insisted.

“It might not be,” agreed the kolea. “But it’s where I’ll be.”

“It’s such a long way!” moaned the saffron finch, “and your wings might be bigger than mine, but they’re nothing like a nene’s, and they don’t fly to Alaska.”

“I know how far it is,” said the kolea, who knew it much better than the saffron finch could, since he’d flown it and the finch hadn’t. “And I know it can be done.”

“What will you eat there?” demanded the saffron finch, who had just plucked some very tasty seeds out of the grasses.”

“Much the same as here,” answered the kolea, though it was a little hard to hear because his mouth was full.

“I say you should stay here,” announced the saffron finch. “Hawai’i is the place to be.”

“It’s a great place to be,” said the kolea, “but…”

“But nothing!” interrupted the saffron finch.

“But… said the kolea, “it’s where I was hatched, and where my parents were hatched, and where my grandparents were hatched. Other birds, even other kolea, lay their eggs in other places. I know it can be done. But this is how we do it, and we know it works for us.”

“It’s really strange, you know,” said the saffron finch.

“It’s not so strange,” replied the kolea. “There are other birds here that make much the same journey – the akekeke, for one – and I’ve met birds in Alaska that make long journeys to spend the winters in very different places than Hawai’i.”

“I’m not convinced,” said the saffron finch.

“You don’t have to be,” said the kolea. “It’s still something I have to do, even if you don’t like it or understand it.”

The saffron finch was quiet for a while and finally said, “I’ll miss you.”

The kolea gave a kolea smile – birds don’t have lips, after all – and said, “I’ll miss you, too, and I’ll be back in the fall to pluck seeds from in front of you again.” And he pulled a seed out right in front of the saffron finch’s beak.

“You’ll be welcome,” said the saffron finch, and he plucked a seed from in front of the kolea.

He remained unconvinced, but he remained satisfied, too, that his friend would come back once more.

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

The story in the recording was told from memory of this text – imperfect memory coupled with affection for improvisation…

Photos of a kolea (left) and a saffron finch by Eric Anderson.

Story: The Earth at Easter

April 9, 2023

Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 28:1-10

How did the world feel that first Easter morning?

I don’t mean the people of the world – most of them didn’t have any idea what was going on. The people of the Pacific islands wouldn’t hear for over 1700 years. They didn’t get the word in Japan or in China. Some people in India would hear about Jesus and his crucifixion much sooner, but they didn’t know on that first Easter morning.

They didn’t know in Africa, even as close to Jerusalem as Egypt. They didn’t know in Britain or the wide plains of Russia or in the palaces of Rome. They didn’t know in Athens. A few might just have heard the word of Jesus’ crucifixion in his home town of Nazareth – someone on a fast horse might have traveled overnight to reach there – but they wouldn’t have word of what happened Easter morning.

No, the only people who knew that Easter morning, at least as Matthew told it, were two women named Mary – it was apparently a common name in Jesus’ day – and, of course, Jesus.

But that wasn’t my question. How did the world feel that first Easter morning? This globe of ours, this Earth that God had created working with the Word of God, the Word that had taken human shape in Jesus. How did the world feel when Jesus died on Friday? How did the world feel when Jesus rose to life once more on Easter morning?

Well. That’s the story.

According to Matthew’s Gospel, the world shuddered when Jesus died, shuddered with an earthquake that shook people’s bodies and spirits, shuddered with grief and loss. And on Easter morning, the Earth felt that quickening of new life. The Earth perceived an angel descending to the rock-cut tomb where Jesus’ body lay. The Earth asked, “What is this?” as a spark of hope flared deep in its center.

The Earth shook itself again, but this time it shook to cast off the sadness and despair of the last two nights. This time it shook itself to cleanse its depths of sorrow and doubt. This time it shook to make a path for joy. This time it shook to awaken the people on its surface to something new and wondrous and holy and blessed.

Did the Earth shake all across the globe? I don’t know, to be honest. I can imagine, though, that where lava was flowing, it flowed just a little brighter, just a little faster. I can imagine that some of the mountains breathed in and became just a little taller, stretched a little bit further toward the sky. I can imagine that the ocean waves ruffled along the shores as the Earth laughed with joy.

When the angel rolled the stone away, I imagine the Earth settled beneath it just a little bit, so that the stone rolled away down a little slope that hadn’t been there before. When the women began running back to the city to tell their friends, perhaps the Earth smoothed the road so they would not trip and fall.

When Jesus met them on the road and they knelt at his feet, perhaps the Earth softened beneath them. When they ran on, after he greeted them and told them, as the angel had, to bring the good news to their friends, they didn’t trip or fall.

Beneath them, the Earth carried on with turning, with following its orbit around the sun, with moving the continents about, with cradling the oceans and raising the mountains, with turning seamounts into islands in the middle of the sea. Beneath those running women, God’s messengers and apostles that morning, the Earth smiled and laughed for joy, for its Creator and Redeemer lived, and so the Earth would be a home for life as long as time endures.

In its own way, the Earth said, “Christ is risen! Alleluia!”

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

In worship, I tell the story from memory. Memory sometimes give way, as today, when I substituted a completely new ending for the one I’d written.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

Story: Easter Egg Mystery

April 9, 2023

Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 28:1-10

The island creatures had heard about Easter eggs, and they could not figure it out.

“Why would you take eggs out of a perfectly good nest?” asked the ‘apapane.

“We went to such trouble building it in the first place,” said the ‘amakihi, which builds a nest that is much bigger than its eggs.

“You don’t need to build a nest at all,” said the Manu-o-Ku, which lays its egg precariously on a branch to balance there until it hatches.

“You’ve got to keep your eggs protected from the sea spray,” said the noio.

“You could always put your eggs on ledges higher up the mountain,” pointed out the koa’e kea, which was maybe a little bit of a mean thing to say to the noio.

“Or you could lay your eggs in Alaska,” said the kolea, but nobody else really wanted to think about that except for the ‘akekeke which does much the same thing.

“Why would you want to put color on them?” wondered the ‘io. “Our eggs are a nice blue when they’re new, and then they turn paler.”

“We like mottled eggs,” said the ‘akepa. “They’re harder for egg eaters to see in the nest.” Everybody looked a little puzzled at this, because the ‘akepa is bright orange and hard to hide from anything.

“We like mottled eggs, too,” said the i’iwi, and now everybody was puzzled but nobody said anything.

“I also don’t see why you’d hide the eggs,” said the pueo. “A nest in the grass is fine.”

“I prefer a tree,” said the mejiro.

“A palm tree,” said the myna.

“A beach,” said the honu, and everybody looked at her.

“Dig a hole, lay your eggs, and cover it over. That’s how to do it,” she said with assurance, and all the other turtles agreed. The birds were almost as confused about this as about Easter eggs. But that got them all to turn to… the chicken.

“What?” she asked.

“Those humans are using chicken eggs,” they told her.

“That doesn’t mean I understand what they’re doing,” she said.

They waited and they didn’t say anything.

The chicken sighed and said, “I really don’t understand what it all means, but I have seen what they do and how they feel about it. They take eggs that aren’t going to hatch – which makes no sense to me, because what good is an egg that isn’t going to hatch? – and as you’ve all noticed, they put bright colors on it. While they’re doing it, they’re smiling and laughing. They’re doing it together, so when one colors an egg, another one tells them how beautiful it is. When they’re done, they admire them together, and congratulate everyone for a job well done.”

“I guess that must feel good,” said the kolea. “What about the hiding?”

“The adults hide the eggs, and the young ones look for them. And when they do, they’ve got those big smiles again, and they’re laughing. They get excited to find the eggs they’ve colored and the ones the other keiki have colored, even if they aren’t going to hatch.”

“Oh, and they also hide and find eggs that aren’t real eggs,” the chicken said. “Those have food in them.”

Everybody nodded at this. Everybody likes to find food.

“I think the point is the joy,” said the chicken. “From beginning to end, these eggs are about joy. Coloring them, hiding them, finding them, and celebrating them. These eggs are about joy.”

They all nodded at this, too. Eggs are about joy for birds and turtles.

And, it turns out, eggs – Easter eggs – are about joy for human beings, too.

by Eric Anderson

I told this story to begin the children’s Easter Egg hunt on Sunday, April 9, 2023. Unlike stories told in worship, it was not filmed or recorded.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

Story: Keep it Humble

April 2, 2023

Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 21:1-11

I imagine you have some idea of the story of the first Palm Sunday, probably because we just read the story. It’s been a year since the last one, though, so let me remind you of the basics. On Jesus’ last visit to Jerusalem, he sent two of his disciples to borrow a donkey for him to ride. As the donkey walked up into the city with Jesus on its back, people waved tree branches – palms, for the most part, I guess – and put their cloaks on the road to soften the donkey’s feet, and shouted a welcome to Jesus that also begged him to save them. It was a big, noisy, spectacle.

One thing the gospels leave out, however, is what the disciples said to Jesus when he told them to get a donkey, and what they said to each other as they were going to get it.

Here’s what I imagine they said to each other.

“Well, we lost that argument.”

“Have you ever won an argument with Jesus?”

“Well, no. But I was hoping this was the first time.”

“I was rooting for you. I mean, you were absolutely right. We should get Jesus a horse.”

“He said no.”

“I know he said no. But can’t you imagine Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a horse? It would be so cool.”

“Everybody would cheer. And then they’d follow him. He’d look just like a Messiah on a horse.”

“Yeah. And look! There’s a horse!”

Now I imagine the two of them standing there, looking at the horse.

“What a great horse.”

“Very noble.”

“And… Jesus said no.”

“He did. We lost that argument.”

“Here’s the donkey he told us to find.”

The two of them looked at it.

“The horse was better.”

“The horse was a lot more impressive.”

“The horse was royal.

“He’ll look like just anybody on a donkey.”

“They might cheer anyway.”

“Let’s hope.”

“Why do you suppose he insisted on a donkey?”

“I don’t know. I mean, you’re a king on a horse. On a donkey, you’re just anybody.”

“A humble anybody.”

“Really humble.”

I’m not sure all that many people value humility these days. There weren’t a lot of people who valued it two thousand years ago. I think it’s worth pointing out, though, that one person who chose to be humble was… Jesus.

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

When I tell the story, it’s from memory – I can’t quite resist improvising in the telling!

The image is L’ânon de Bethphagé (The Foal of Bethpage) by James Tissot – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008, 00.159.191_PS2.jpg, Public Domain,