Monday, March 25, 2013

The Donkey Who Carried a King

The Donkey Who Carried a King on amazon. This book features a biblically-reflective narrative by R. C. Sproul with illustrations by Chuck Groenink.

Donkey Who Carried a King front cover In a similar manner to several books I've recently read, The Donkey Who Carried a King seeks to integrate scripture and "real life" by depicting current-day characters interacting with characters in a biblical story, or by relating scriptural characters' experiences to a present-day situation. In this instance, Reilly is a young American or Canadian (I believe, since he calls his mother "Mom") boy who isn't as popular at school as he'd like to be, so Reilly's grandfather decides to tell the Palm Sunday / Passion Week story of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday 2013! Again we heard "The Lord has need!" "Hosanna!" "If these were silent, the stones would shout!" As many churches have been doing for a couple of decades, we celebrated Palm/Passion Sunday, moving too swiftly from Jesus' palms- and praise-surrounded triumphal entry to the walk with the cross, to the cross of crucifixion.

As part of creating context, author Sproul reminds us of other donkeys in the bible: diviner Balaam's donkey in Numbers 22; and Joseph's donkey – called "Barnabas" here – who carried Jesus of Nazareth's mother Mary. Through the voice of Davey the Donkey, Reilly's grandfather explains to his young grandson a servant God dying to self, and rising to new life for the redemption of the world, along with God's call to us to live as a servant creation―whether donkey or human. Donkey Who Carried a King back cover

For the Parents / Understanding the Story at the end of the book lines out some scriptural and doctrinal background. It's not comprehensive, but it is a good start in terms of reminding or teaching parents some basics and helping them explain to younger kids how the story of Donkey Davey and King Jesus is part of a larger, historically, and theologically interwoven fabric that also calls and enables us to live as servants.

Chuck Groenink's earthen-hued illustrations of both contemporary and biblical scenes are exceptionally beautiful. The book design also is exquisite, with some pages of text on a plain white background, others with words superimposed on the illustrations themselves. I realize R.C. Sproul is more accustomed to writing heavy-duty theology for adults than explanations for young people, yet he does well with this relatively simple account that alternates between donkey Davey and boy Reilly. The Donkey Who Carried a King could be a valuable addition to church or family Lenten, Palm Sunday, or Good Friday activities.

my amazon review: A Servant God, A Servant Creation

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