On Campaign in New York I was looking forward to our evangelistic parade at the site of the Democratic National Convention. Some of us were to carry signs and others were to march alongside.
Mitch Glaser, our leader, assigned us our places. When it was my turn, Mitch called me to go down with him in the elevator and an odd sense of dread came over me. When we stopped at the first floor I discovered the reason for my strange premonition. The elevator door opened to reveal Sasha, one of our other team members, with a donkey costume over his head. I was assigned to occupy the rear!
I knew this definitely was going to be a humbling, if not a humiliating experience. In my 12 years as a professional entertainer, tail-of-the-donkey was not a role I ever would have chosen. At least let me be the head, not the tail. Was this to be my destiny? Please, Lord, no! But Mitch insisted and I knew I must comply.
Our parade route was simple. We were to march from our New York office on East 31st Street to Madison Square Garden and then around the Garden as many times as we could before some official stopped us. As we marched, we were to sing and chant Christian slogans.
As I bumped along in the tail end of the donkey, I was able to examine every crack in the sidewalk. I watched Sasha’s shoes as he tried to keep rhythm to a marching cadence. He couldn’t, and every time he missed a beat I would step on the back of his sneakers and they would come off. My neck was cramped down in the tail end of the donkey, and after about three miles or so my head felt like it was about to fall off. Then came the uncontrollable laughter. Watching Sasha walking with his shoes half off caught me right in the funny bone. Every time we came to what I assumed was a stoplight he would fix his shoes. Every time he got off the beat I would step on them again and off they would come.
Mitch had a megaphone, and during the march he called out chants for the group to repeat. Unfortunately he was shouting them in my ear, probably forgetting that my head was at his mouth level under the donkey’s rump. One more circumstance made my discomfort complete. The donkey was leading the parade. Though Sasha was at the front with the eye holes in the right position, for some reason if we got too slow or too fast the marchers would push me from the rear and expect me to move this beast along as though I could pace Sasha from the rear. It wasn’t too effective.
When I felt that I had taken all I could stand, we were providentially stopped by the police. The march was over and I was saved! I took off my costume and got my bearings and, much to my surprise, standing around the corner from us was the actor Richard Dreyfuss. Actually I did not see him, but Josh, another team member, did. Excitedly he said, Henry, go over and witness to him. You are an entertainer, too.” So I did, and it was a very positive experience. He listened and took the tract I offered him. I came back to Josh who, of course, asked me all about it. I said that I really did not know who Richard Dreyfuss was. Josh went to tell Mitch, who responded with his characteristic eyebrows-raised, smiling “So what?” and it was back to business as usual.
Yes, God can use even a donkey—a whole live one (remember Balaam’s ass) or a fake beast, or even half of a fake beast. Anyhow, what I thought was an abased position was where God wanted me to be at that time, and I ended up witnessing to a celebrity. The right place at the right time is up to God, and He can use anyone or anything for His glory.