Easter is upon us. Once again the holiest season for Christians will vie for some space in that desire to grab the last warm holiday before winter.
Seasons are a gift from God. They are necessary. They provide great metaphor for the ebbs and flows of life.
Easter, in the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality sense, is part of God’s rhythm in our year.
Today is Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday emerges out of the weeks of Lent. Lent is the season of repentance, preparation and retreat. We always express Lent by having an arrangement like this across the four weeks. The metaphoric bushfire is coming, devastation is near and is part of our experience as people.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday when we take the symbolic palm crosses from Palm Sunday last year, burn them, mix them with oil and place a sign on the forehead to recommit to Christ crucified, God’s good news.
Palm Sunday remembers Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, bearing all the marks of the Old Testament Messianic promises – promises that were only realised in hindsight. We remember it this way in the church:
These actions – receiving a palm cross, keeping it all year, burning it, entering into Lent; Palm Sunday; Thursday, when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet; Friday, given up to death, we walk to the beach with him; Sunday, he’s alive! We remember the explosion of the resurrection in an arrangement like this at St Philips on Sunday.
And we place our own flowers on the cross, to remember that the worst fallen creation could throw at God’s Son and Saviour was defeated on one Roman cross in a disused quarry-turned-garden just outside the city gate on the road to Joppa. Jesus is alive!
Like the seasons, these rhythms help us to remember, keeping us attentive, hopeful and expectant. Remembering is so important because we are so good at forgetting.