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: