A Dude and a Donkey: Flipping the Idea of Power and Peace

Tuesday, June 17

Zac and friend

Zac and friend

By Zac Harmon–McLaughlin of Wickliffe, Ohio, USA

…do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

—Psalm 34:14 NRSV

I had an hour of spiritual-practice time dedicated to reflection and connection with the Divine. I was in the Rocky Mountains. A racing creek was right outside, snow-capped mountains waited for my eyes, and birds flew back and forth. Other blessings were waiting to reveal themselves.

I walked to a bridge over a raging creek and sat down. I communed with God. I reflected on what had been a terrific weekend—a retreat experience at Peaceful Valley Dude Ranch.

As I was letting my heart dwell in God, flowing with the breeze and the water, I felt prompted to cross the bridge. In a small pasture I found a donkey gently grazing, having some dinner. As soon as the donkey heard me, we made eye contact.

Now, I am a city boy. I don’t know how donkeys behave, what they like, or how to touch them. But I thought I would give it a go. I was in the middle of connecting with the Divine. I thought, “What a wonderful opportunity to experience God through this creature!” So I made my way closer, and he made his way closer to me.

We met, and I stuck out my hand in the same way you do when you meet a dog.

The donkey rubbed against my hand as if to tell me to start rubbing his nose and head. I began to pet him and, I swear, he smiled at me. He opened his big, old mouth and bared his teeth in a grin. I felt a connection to this creature. His coat was coarse and dirty. As I patted his neck and back, dust flew into the air. His owner had mowed his meadow clean. I picked from the plentiful grass outside the fence. As soon as I leaned forward with a handful of greens and dandelions he smiled again.

Here is why this is perfect for the peace blog or Daily Bread. The donkey is the lowliest of creatures in the equestrian world. It is not a beautiful stallion or a giant Clydesdale. It isn’t exotic or fast. Yet, the donkey is what Jesus rode into Jerusalem—what Jesus used to flip this world’s understanding of power and status into love and peace.

The donkey for Jesus is an ambassador for peace. I was at peace with an animal that doesn’t hold honor and glory or even the tourism appeal of a zebra. I was with God, having a peaceful agape meal.

Prayer for Peace Thank you, God, for revealing love and peace, where we once saw power and status.

Spiritual Practice: Caring for God’s Sacred Creation Choose a way to notice, give thanks, and care for God’s sacred creation. Prayerfully walk in nature with a spirit of gratitude. Look and listen for God in all creation. Write or pray a psalm of praise for the Earth’s beauty or offer a prayer of healing and blessing for its wounds.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will be open to meeting with you spontaneously, should I be so blessed.

Leave a comment


  1. Katherine Bridwell

     /  18 June 2014

    Beautiful message and testimony.

  2. Velma Vanderpool

     /  17 June 2014
  3. Linda Sue

     /  17 June 2014

    Thank you for writing your experience. As I have become aware of our connection with all creatures (including people), I am thankful to read/hear/see encounters such as yours. I believe we need to be allowing our Spiritual selves to lead us.

  4. Gladys Geis

     /  17 June 2014

    Thanks much for your thoughts. God has so much to offer us through his creation. Animal are a blessing God has shared with us.


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