This weekend we entered Holy Week with one of the most exciting services of the year: Palm Sunday. We had the drama of Korean drums, the timeless ritual of blessing palms, and the procession of clergy and congregation into the church, triumphantly waving palms. (In the past we have included a donkey, but not this year. I hear they find our floor tiles too slippery!) This first half of the service – pure joy and celebration!
And then, we make a 180° turn, and share in the words of the Passion, the story of Jesus’ suffering, sacrifice and death. This second half of the service – devastating. It is painful to face up to this story of how love came into the world in human form and we human beings tried to destroy it.
And this gets me thinking about our young people, especially the children participating in the St. James’ Children’s Choir this Sunday. As they sit there in the choir stalls, listening to the Passion, what will they be thinking? How will they be making sense of the congregation’s cries: Crucify him! Crucify him!!
I wish I could protect them from the hard truths in this story central to our faith. I’d like to skip right from the palm waving procession to Easter morning, wouldn’t you? And yet we know, and our children know, that this is not the world in which we live. Children’s choir members know that our world can be violent and cruel. They know that sometimes we human beings hurt each other and hurt God.
And yet the Passion is a story of unbreakable love. In our lives, whether we are young or old, yes, hard things can happen. At the same time, God is always with us, loving us, and ready to give everything for us. Even his life.
So I won’t worry about how our children’s choir members deal with the violence of the Passion. Instead I’ll trust that the heart of the story – God’s never-ending love for us ALL – comes shining through.
Peace and blessings this Holy Week and Easter,