A Poem for Palm Sunday and Passion Week

This is a poem that I wrote and preached as the Palm/Passion Sunday sermon this past weekend at the Upper Room. A number of people have requested copies of it, so I’m making it available here.

What kind of king are you?


What kind of king

rides on a donkey

a donkey that might be borrowed,

or might be hijacked?


What kind of king

builds a castle

with a wide open door for children to enter

but a needle-eye sized hole for the rich?


What kind of king

rides on a donkey

into the city where

his assassins are waiting?


What kind of king

enters his assassins’ city

with a ragtag commotion for all to see

and not one security guard?


What kind of king

lets his subjects treat him like a

military liberator but doesn’t

come with a single sword or weapon?


What kind of king

lets his followers send a

public message to the competing powers

with no intent of answering a single challenge?


What kind of King are you?


What kind of King

can send two followers

to fetch a donkey

and know exactly what they’ll need to say?


What kind of king

can tell a blind beggar

“your faith has made you well.”

And actually make him see?


What kind of king

can weep at the funeral of his friend

only to say, “Lazarus, come out!”

and watch him come back to life.


What kind of king

can sit at the dinner table

with his subjects and be subject to them

and wash their feet?


What kind of king

can carry his own cross

can serve his assassin and

help in his own execution?


What kind of king

can die

so that his assassins

can live?


What kind of King are you?


A King who came not to be served

but to serve and to give

his life as a ransom

for many.


A King who keeps his promises

A King who I can trust

A King who can save

A King I want to follow


And so I come to you, King Jesus

not to be served by you

but to serve you

and to give my life to you.


So take my cloak

use it to clothe the naked

or use it for your donkey to step on.

I don’t care

so long as you’re the one taking it.


Because you’re the only one who

will give me a new garment in return,

a white robe made of saints righteous deeds,

a garment that fits so well it’ll be

a new self, your self.


Use me, King Jesus,

all of me.

As you see fit.

Make me a knight or a bishop or a rook,

or make me an expendable pawn.

I don’t care what piece I am.

So long as yours is the hand that’s moving me.


Because yours is

the mighty hand with an outstretched arm.

Yours is the hand that rules with an iron scepter,

and that knit me together in my mother’s womb.


So let me follow you,

King Jesus

all the way to Golgotha.


Let me walk next to you

and put palm branches at your feet

and shout “Hosanna!” with the children.


And if the child in me shouting “Hosanna!”

grows up to an adult shouting “Crucify!”

bring me back to the water where I can be born again.


Let me sit at the table with you

and take bread and wine from you hands

and let me lay my head on your chest.


And if thirty pieces of the world’s silver

are ever enough to draw me away

Wash my feet and make me clean again


Let me pray with you at Gethsemane

and learn from you how to be vulnerable with the Father

let me see your tears and sweat and grief.


And if my prayers give way to sleep

wake me again

with the waters of regeneration.


Let me walk with you to the cross.

Let me be Simon of Cyrene,

and learn to carry your cross with you.


And if my Simon of Cyrene becomes Simon Peter

and I walk away from your cross to deny you

lead me back to these waters where I can still die with you.


And live.


And all along this long rough road

let my song be:



Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!

Hosanna in the highest!