Monday, 6 April 2009

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday in the Minster was as usual a grand event. The visitors, the music, the colour, the choir singing, the priests processing in, all clutching their dried palm branches which were then ceremoniously plunged into a large container of sand, looking not unlike Christmas trees in a strange way except of course, they did not have baubles on or a fairy on the top….by the way, has anyone seen the Easter Crackers you can now buy in Tesco – what is that all about?
The thought occurred to me that when our Lord rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, palm branches would be ‘the’ things that you waved around to mark something spectacular happening –the equivalent of football scarves or even underwear if you are a fan of Tom Jones (I am not suggesting anything here!). ‘What’ I pondered as the Passion was sung, ‘would we greet our Lord with today?’ I was not oblivious to the fact that there were two other ‘waving’ opportunities in the news this week – on the one hand the G20 protests where we have seen those who waved their banners in protest carefully managed or ‘kettled’ I think is the phrase used and hidden away in corrals by those in authority, where they sought solace in each other as they were trapped for hours until later when they allowed to travel on. On the other hand, the funeral of Jade Goody which looked remarkably similar to the funeral of Princess Diana in many respects with flowers being thrown onto the car which carried her body and the service in which last respects were paid and testimony given was relayed to the crowds waiting outside. The crowds there were not ‘kettled’ and neither were they hidden as they sought solace in each other.
I found myself wondering how one could square the circle of grief that overcomes those who feel moved to protest because our world is on the brink of ecological and financial disaster, a world that sustains and nourishes us and yet are silenced and those who grieve so publically about someone they have never met yet, becoming part of some surreal family, the head of which has shared their living and their dying in such a voyeuristic fashion …where in all this would I be waving my palm?