So I went to church this past Sunday, narrowly avoiding a SWAT copter trying to corral an alleged out of control bathrobe-wearing woman with a knife (I think they lost her when she went back inside a house), a protest at the Post Office because people still want their mail delivered on Saturdays, and mobs and mobs of people checking out the second service, all of which is enough to make me want to go back to the first service, especially next week, since it's Easter Sunday.
Yeah, that's right! Next week IS Easter Sunday! So this week is Palm Sunday! Right!? Right!? Because that's what usually happens? Palm Sunday is a week before Easter Sunday? And normally, you'll see the cute parade of kids waving palm fronds (which, this being Los Angeles, can't be that hard to round up. The palm fronds, I mean. Or little kids, they have those here in L.A. too) and there'll be some variation of Jesus Christ Superstar's "HO SANNA HEY SANNA SANNA SANNA HO, SANNA HEY SANNA HO SANNAAAAAAAHHHHHH!"
There should be some mention in the sermon about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem, “on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9) and all sorts of stuff.
Know what my church did instead? Debuted their new church app for your smartphone.
No little kids. No palm fronds. No Jesus Christ Superstar songs. Oh, they talked about Easter Lilies, would you like to donate one for next week? They talked about Easter services next week, and how you should invite your friends. And the sermon was continuing our study of The Beatitudes, the verses on Judge not, Lest Ye Be Judged.
Oooooooh, I get it. I'm not even supposed to call my church weird for debuting their church app on Palm Sunday instead of talking about Palm Sunday. Because that'd be JUDGING them.
I went back in my notes (Yes, I'm a sermon note-taking weirdo). Last year, it was a guest speaker, but the sermon was still about Palm Sunday. In 2011, it was one of our rotating pastor's last sermon, as he was leaving for another job, but he still talked about the resurrection of Jesus. 2010, Palm Sunday, check. 2009 Palm Sunday, check. 2008, Guest Speaker, Palm Sunday, check.
So, for the past five years, they've honored Palm Sunday. And this week, they didn't mention it. They don't have a problem honoring Easter every year. Or Christmas every year. They're even doing a Good Friday service this year.
And Palm Sunday got the boot.
I wonder why. And I wonder why it bugs me so much.
I think it has something to do with Palm Sunday as the beginning of the end. The irony and hypocrisy in the celebration, that these same cheering people will turn on Jesus in just a few days. We are all hypocrites at some point or another, denying Jesus in our own ways, in our own times. Even though we beg for forgiveness, even though we repent. None of us are worthy, but Jesus still takes us back, still dies for us all, still forgive us.
And I wished that we had heard some sort of meditation on that this past Sunday.
Maybe I'll go looking around online.