Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Hypocrisy of Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday and I am grumpy about going to church. I don't really like, nor have ever enjoyed, the Palm Sunday liturgy. It smacks of the greatest hypocrisy to celebrate a feast that was in some cases the ultimate act of betrayal. 

From a purely theological point of view, I understand that without Palm Sunday, we cannot have the feast of our Lord's resurrection. However, from an emotional point of view, it fills me with sadness and disappointment.  

I. Don't. Like. It. One. Bit. 

Here we are (and yes, it's a "we"), lauding our Lord, showering him with psalms, and palms and gifts and song. We have greeted our king of salvation. 

And we know, that gruesome death and suffering await.   Jesus knows that gruesome suffering and death await. And he goes. With a smile on his face.   And we are complicit in the parade that we re-enact each year on Palm Sunday.  I don't like it. I like to think that I would not be one of the throng that calls for Jesus' death. The truth of the matter is I probably betray Jesus daily. 

Each year, we need Palm Sunday as a reminder that we too could have been the one's to yell, "crucify him!"  We could be the ones to deny Jesus three times. We could be the ones to kiss Jesus on the cheek even as we lead the authorities to his door. Each day we fail to follow Christ, we are complicit in the Passion of our Lord. 

It's a difficult reminder that no matter how hard we try, we are still sinners. Without God's grace and gift of crucifixion, we have no hope. While I will never be comfortable with the pomp and circumstance and celebration of the Palm Sunday liturgy, I know in my heart I need this reminder that Jesus went willingly to his call. It is a reminder that we all have a call we need to answer as a result of this amazing gift.