Friday, April 14, 2006

Palm Sunday

I know that being raised Catholic has a bog effect on the things that I'm comfortable with and look for in church, but I'm just not satisfied with my Holy Week this year.

To start, Palm Sunday was not the joyous occasion that I wanted/needed it to be. We started our church service with a procession into the sanctuary with palms, but the bulk of the service was a dramatic reading of the entire passion story - through the crucifixion, laying Jesus' body in the tomb and stopping just short of the resurrection. The service ended with a solo performance of "Were you There?" while the altar was completely stripped. I understand the point of Lent and especially Holy Week, but why is this done all on Palm Sunday?? I asked some people about it, and it was explained to me that so few people attend services on Thursday and Friday that they felt like it all had to be done on Palm Sunday. AARGH!

Why do we cater to the fact that people don't make this a priority? Maybe I'm just having a little tantrum here, but it's my blog and I can do that. :) Palm Sunday is the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem for the Passover festival - we barely acknowledged that part of the story before immediatly moving on to his death. It seems to me like this is a typical Protestant thing - theologically the focus is on the fact that "Jesus died for me. It's just not good enough for me to only get part of the story, or at least to just blow through parts of the story that aren't "relevant."

When I was growing up, Palm Sunday was a joyous occasion, with the kids all getting involved more than usual and lots of palm waving, joyous songs, etc. Yes, there was the looming notion of crucufixion - everyone knew what the rest of the week's events were - but that wasn't the point of PALM SUNDAY. We all went to church on Thursday for the last supper and footwashing service. And then we all went again on Friday for the death on the cross (usually involving fasting as well). These are significant days for our religion, so why not expect people to go to church more often than just Sunday morning?! When Christmas is not on Sunday, do they not go then? Oh, maybe they don't....

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