Sunday, March 29, 2015

I know; I know. It's been forever since I have posted in my blog. It's been so long that I had serious difficulty remembering which site I used for my blog. It's been so long, I'm pretty sure that no one in my current charge is even aware I have a blog.
Nonethess, I had some thoughts today and this seemed to proper area to post about them.

When I got home today from worship I was tired; I mean really, really tired, the kind of tired I have not been in years. Just to set the record straight, the day was normal -ish, for a Sunday. I woke at about 6:40 am, having slept for about 7 hours or so. I drank some coffee, and I had breakfast. There was nothing physically wrong with me to make me tired, but I was I'm-not-even-hungry-I'm-so-tired tired. So what was it?

Today being the last Sunday before Easter, we celebrated Palm Sunday. Actually, like many United Methodists we celebrated Palm / Passion Sunday today. Therein lies my hypothesis. We began the services with the procession of the palms. My liturgists read the story of Jesus' triumphal entry from Mark's gospel. In the second service the choir processed singing Hosannas. It was beautiful.

But it was not long into the services when it was time for me to read the Passion Narrative. Two chapters from Mark will take something out of you, no matter what you had for breakfast. In fact, it was during the second service, right after I finished reading the Passion narrative that I first noticed how tired I was. I still had a sermon, and all of the responses to the Word to go.

As I have read and understood the logic, we (not sure exactly who the "we" is) have begun combining Palm Sunday and Passion Sundays using the logic that we cannot and should not go from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday without the Passion, and many of our congregations do not participate in the Holy Weeks services, where the Passion stories are told. As a result, they miss all of it. I agree that we should not go from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday without the Passion. Truly we cannot experience the resurrection if we do not experience the cross, but I am not sure that Palm / Passion Sunday is good for us. I am not sure it is emotionally or spiritually healthy for us. 

I think it may be too much to transition from the Palm procession to the Passion in such a short amount of time. I think we may need the entirety of Holy Week to experience the Passion, in smaller shorter doses, for our own spiritual health and our theological well-being. It reminds me of a comment I heard once at an OSL retreat, several years ago. The speaker said something to the effect of, 'we Christians try to swallow the Holy Divine whole and we wonder why it gives us indigestion.' What I mean to say is that the Passion narrative is an important part of who we are as Christians, and I think it is not healthy to feel it all at once.

I believe there is an anemnasis that happens in the whole of our worship services, not just the Eucharistic prayers. If this is so, then we do experience the Passion narrative as we hear it, again and again. It is not just a story. It is part of who we are, and we need time with it, way more time that I had with it today in either worship service. We need time to let the story affect us, let it move us. We need time to feel what we feel about our God who loved us enough to become one of us and to be obedient even unto death, even death on a cross. Christ's Passion should not be thoughtlessly consumed like a Big Mac. If so what should be provisions for our soul becomes a food-like substance -- yeah, you can eat it, but there is no nourishment in it for you.

I have no real conclusion for these thought, except to say that I will have to do something different next year.
The peace of God be with you all, and may your Holy Week be Holy indeed.

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