I spent Saturday in New York with friends, including one who is a PK. On the train on the way back, she mentioned that she had palms in her garage that she needed to get to church early yesterday morning — Palm Sunday.
Easter Week is profoundly sad to me, the kind of sadness that can’t be alleviated with a chocolate bunny at the end. (And yes, Easter, as did so many other Christian holidays, sprang from a pre-Christian celebration. As the previous link says, the ancient symbolism still works.)
For all kinds of reasons, I have always considered Palm Sunday to be nearly as sad as Good Friday (what’s good about it?) because Palm Sunday was the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a high he hadn’t experienced before, and never would again. In rather short order, Jesus went, in the eyes of the people, from being a god to a goat. And then they killed him in a really heinous way.
But my friend, the PK, sees it differently. She loves Palm Sunday, she said, because that was Jesus’ last really good day. And it was a good day — a great day, in fact.
It’s hard to shake the fear that fundamentalism gifts you. I’ve always spent Easter Week feeling a great sense of unease, like you’re sitting in a cosmic theater and you see how this will end, but no matter how much you scream at the screen (“Go back, Jesus!”) it always culminates in the same sad death.
Yes, there’s resurrection. And glory.
But oh! That death…I wouldn’t wish that — the physical pain, the knowledge that you are forever and ever alone in this — on my worst enemy.
But if I can shake the other bonds of fundamentalism, I can shake my unease. Because by my reading of The Book, Jesus didn’t die on a tree because he needed to save me from my sins. He died because he preached the radical notion that we are here to serve those who can’t serve themselves, that we are charged with being fierce about fixing social ills.
So onward, into this dark week where we all will ultimately rise again. Selah. And, for good measure:
I don’t know. Palm Sunday was, if you’re a believer, the first day when Jesus officially puts both feet into the role He knew was waiting for Him. My vision of Jesus isn’t of a Man who was all that impressed with that kind of display. In fact, choosing the donkey, instead of a more powerful mount…like horse or chariot…seems to me to illustrate a desire to communicate a sense of humility to a crowd exhibiting what could very well be interpreted as nationalist fervor. It might have even pissed Him off a bit…because…well…look what happened on Monday.
If I had to choose, I’d say His last really good day was Wednesday. No agenda. No preaching. No Capitalists to spank. No hypocrites in his face. No cross to bear. Just sitting around chilling with his friends. Planning a dinner. Silent Wednesday. Given the tempo of His career to that point…and knowing what was in store for the weekend…I bet that had to be a pretty good day.
I just have a hard time separating the week from the ultimate crucifixion. And yes. I know that that was supposed to have opened the door to the resurrection, but Jaysus (no offense). What a shitty, shitty thing to go through.
If indeed this happened, and if indeed there was a resurrection, at least there was that. I was suddenly struck by images of blacks (or ANYbody) burned and hacked and hanged for NO REASON here in the good ol’ U.S.A.
Sorry to take it in a different direction from the intended one — just had that flash through……….
Not at all, no apologies necessary. It’s a good analogy.
I agree. It was indeed the beginning of a horrendous week.
(Really. Good Friday. I could never really wrap my mind around that.)
Neither could Sam Kinison, Patron Saint of the Religious Disaffected: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r9hhKnjwEw
I miss Sam. I truly do. Thanks for this.
Of course that’s the name I’ve always known it by during my looooooong life, but has it had other names?
…according to Wikipedia.
I’ve heard it referred to as Holy Friday. But Good Friday seems to be the most widely used.
Yeah, and there’s not a great deal “good” about it, if you’re Jesus.
Leave a comment