Monday, April 7, 2014

Passion and Palms

What do you say to a child who can't sleep at night because of “all the bad people?” Well, I tried to comfort her by assuring her that there are no bad people. That's fine, but then this child says, "what about Pontus Pilate?" What does a loving parent say then?

This is precisely why I say that all Bibles should come with a parental advisory warning. A child's exposure to the Holy Scriptures ought to be accompanied by an adult. There's lots of sex, violence, politics and religion inside that holy book. It's not easy to protect children from the Bible, of course. This sleepless child had never been to a Good Friday service, so never heard about Pontus Pilate from me. It was in a children's cartoon she had seen that morning on TV. Even now, all these years later she prefers to skip the Celebration of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday because it is such a scary and painful story.

Several years ago, the people who decide these things, chose to remember the Lord's Passion on Palm Sunday. Their reason was that it's an important part of the story and it needs to be heard (I agree so far), so let's read the Passion on Palm Sunday because no one comes to worship on Good Friday (that's where I disagree). Good Friday is the day to remember the Lord's Passion and children are welcome, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

When our bishop (of the day) Fred Hiltz (now Primate of Canada) joined us for Holy Week he chose the Order of Worship we've used ever since. He wanted Palm Sunday to focus on the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Instead of the recommended readings appointed for today (which focus on the Passion) we are using the Gospels for Holy Week, taking us on a journey from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday.

Be sure to join us for the Remembrance of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday, if you can. Bring children too (if you want), but be ready to help them understand some pretty scary stuff. And surely don't miss the biggest Sunday of all, Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate the Lord's victory over death, hatred and violence; the day when life, love and peace win.

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