Palm Sunday and the Triumphal Entry

In Catholisism, Palm Sunday is an important holiday… Or maybe pre-holiday? Not sure exactly how it’s defined, as I’m not Catholic. While I have many doctrinal differences with the Catholic religion, (maybe I’ll write about that some day…) I don’t deny that there are some things I can learn from them.

Rather than re-hash my previous post and share why I don’t like the traditions surrounding Easter, let me share some of the things I like to think about going into the holiday.

WHAT IS PALM SUNDAY?

Despite the dangerous and rebellious atmosphere in Jerusalem, and against the good advise of His Apostles to stay away, Jesus risked the wrath of the Romans and returned to Jerusalem in the days leading up to the Passover. The Romans were wary of insurrectionists and were arresting anyone they thought were trying to cause rebellion. The leaders of the Jews had already deliberately sought to paint the Savior as a leader of rebellion, and so His return to the Holy City was dangerous. Combined with the influx of celebratory Jews, the city was bursting with anxiety, rejoicing, and even rebellion.

When he came, he rode on the back of an ass, the kingly mount of the ancient Jews, and his followers laid palm leaves at his feet before him, reveling and shouting in praise, shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”

Jesus was indeed a leader of a rebellion, but rather than political insurrection, he led a rebellion against the natural man: urging His disciples to wholly reject the sinful world, and follow him in His perfection. Here He declared Himself as the promised Messiah, the Son of God, and the Heir of David. Here the throngs of Jews proclaimed His holy name, and blessed His coming.

So Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphant return of the Savior to the Holy City, and introduces the week leading to the most horrific day in human history, and culminated in the breaking of the bonds of death.

This week, prepare to celebrate Easter, let’s think less of the eggs and bunnies, and remember He who is worthy of our praise. With those in Jerusalem, let us cry “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”

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Egg Laying Rabbits and Cute Chicks

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, which kicks off the week that culminates in, arguably, the most important day in Christendom. Sadly, I was unwell yesterday… Very unwell. I had intended an introductory post Saturday, followed by one a day through the end of the week, but pain is an effective writers block. So I’ll try it anyway, 3 posts today, pain allowing, and one each day this week.

Easter is an important holiday for Christians, but here in the States, I fear we put our focus on the wrong things. Easter, for example, rather than focusing on the Savior, recognizes Eastre, Goddess of Spring and fertility. Most other languages use a name more associated with passover, but we retain the names of Spring.

While my passions are greater than I intend to show here, I am more of a proverbial grinch toward Easter than toward Christmas, which is saying something.

Many faithful followers of Christ try to justify  the symbolism of the eggs, rabbits, chicks and general springtime feel of the holiday by saying that the celebration of new birth and spring are representative of the resurrection, a surface explanation that, in truth, doesn’t outweigh the pagan origins of the symbols.

Understand that I believe that the most common symbols of the holiday represent and celebrate fertility and procreation far better than they could ever represent the atonement and resurrection of the Savior. The rabbit is known for its… abundant? Frequent? Prolific? Yes. …for it’s prolific procreation. The egg is an obvious symbol for birth, and for fertility. 

But most of all, the resurrection is not a re-birth, it is an overpowering of death. Unlike our Hindu brothers and sisters, we Christians don’t believe in reincarnation, but rather in resurrection. And the ancient pagan symbols of the grove don’t fit in our Holy worship of the Almighty.

For this reason, other than my routine hard boiled eggs, I have not  participated in an egg hiding ceremony for my children. Do they miss out? Maybe, but we still buy them candy and such, after all, I’m not suggesting that we needent celebrate this joyful week, just that we aught to keep our focus on that which is important, rather than follow the example of our Israelite ansestors and worship the Grove and Baal, even if only by our symbolism.

So this week, I intend to share some thoughts that help me keep my mind focused on my Savior, and to remember His last mortal week. It begins with Palm Sunday, and ends with the Passover.