Tomorrow (today by the time you read this) March 16th 2008 is, in the western Christian tradition known as “Palm Sunday: The Sunday of the Passion”.
For thirty years I thought that this was an important day in the life of the Church, and urged the parishioners in Fitchburg, Chicopee, Pittsfield and Cambridge (each in Massachusetts) to attend.
I planned exquisite and lovely liturgies, and even if they did not “come off” - well there was always next year.
Now, two years into retirement, I am not sure if I will attend the Palm/Passion Sunday liturgies.
If I do, it will be at St.X's Church where there will be many palms, but little passion.
St. X's is a great Church. The Clerics preach well, the music is superb, the ambiance is liberal, and the people are cool.
Liberal as it is (and I love that), it is a “top-down” parish with the Rector (a good and wise man) very much in control.
St. X's does everything right, but it lacks passion. I long for this Church to “let loose”.
I long for the day when one of the Clerics farts at the Altar, and the whole congregation breaks up into laughter.
Now get this straight. I truly respect St. X's, and its Clerics and Mission. It’s a parish on the side of the Angels.
I simply wish that this good Parish could be less self-conscious, and more relaxed.
But I am not even sure that I will attend Church on Palm Sunday. For “the Church” has domesticated an act of rebellion.
If the gospel is to be believed, “Palm Sunday” is the day when Jesus gave the finger to the ruling powers of Religion and State; the day on which he says “F.U.” to Caesar in Rome, and to the ruling religious powers in Jerusalem.
And for that he died.
We do not do that day justice with our pathetic processions as we uncomfortably sing “All glory, laud and honour”.
Christians should be marching around the State Dept; the Pentagon; and the Dept. of Homeland Security on Palm/Passion Sunday, with holy “F.U’s” to the powers that be.