Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The mark of the cross

There are plenty of legends and stories about what wonderful and loyal companions burros make – miners and shepherds of long ago talked to their beasts of burden and treated them like old friends, which they often became. I’m going to venture into new territory here and share a story about the cross mark on a burro’s back. I think of it often, especially when I see the sheep are peaceful, protected by their sweet burros. Our burros are mellow creatures, kind but brave.

Some say that the cross mark on a burro’s back is a sign of love from God. In the story of the Crucifixion, Jesus rode a burro to Jerusalem. The burro wanted to carry the heavy cross for Jesus, but was not allowed, so he followed Jesus to the hill of Calvary. His heart filled with sorrow, the burro was unable to bear to watch the horrible scene before him as Jesus was nailed to the cross. The burro turned his back, but stayed nearby Jesus on the cross, and heard Jesus pray for those who had harmed him. To reward the sweet beast, the shadow of Jesus on the cross fell across the burro’s back and remains there to this day, as a visible symbol of God’s love.

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