As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: “Blessed is the name of the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
This week is Passion Week, the beginning of which is less notable than the final days of the week: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Today is Palm Sunday and we did indeed receive palms at church, which Ian and I took home and made into a cross on our door. It will stay there until after Easter. To Christians this is simultaneously the saddest and most joyful week of the year: our Lord dies for us this week, but defeats death – for us. It is an amazing and solemn week where we reflect on the sacrifice made for all people and on the love God poured out for us in allowing His Son to suffer torture, death, and separation from Himself, an event which had never happened before or since. Imagine having part of who you are forcibly ripped away from you and that suggests a tiny bit of the suffering God the Father and Christ the Son went through when Christ died on the cross.
This time of year I always feel mixed about the prevalence of Easter “celebrations” in our culture. Easter and Christmas, two Christian holidays that culture has accepted and turned into, classically, a wonderful capitalist heyday. All the little bunnies and chickies, Peeps and eggs, the transparent plastic grass that gets everywhere and sticks, the paper cutouts of these symbols in shop stores, the prevalence of pastel colors… After visiting Sevilla over the Semana Santa my junior year in high school three years ago (!), laying awake at night listening to the dirges the night of Thursday to Friday, seeing the people actually carrying crosses and walking for hours barefoot, the processions and the floats, it’s hard to take our American traditions seriously at all. I think it was the music that made it all so real: music of mourning because Christ had died and the people seemed to internalize it far better than we.
For some reason I cannot seem to vocalize particularly logically the trouble I have with all this Easter bunny silliness. Maybe it’s that I have an inherent respect for the sanctity of the events that occurred and to see these people who couldn’t care less that Christ was born, died, and rose again taking this day we mark as so special and using it to make money…! Maybe it’s hard to believe that a person really, truly died on this Friday, died in a way no human ever could before or again, died and took on all our stupidities, all our evil, all our mistakes; what pain, and we resort to bunnies?! I can understand somewhat the symbolism of young animals, because while Christ died we also remember that He rose again and lives on. Youth and rebirth are tied together, but that’s not what people think of when we see an Easter bunny. We think of chocolate and jelly-beans. Yum?
– KF –