Uugh, all the beautiful daffodils and tulips are wearing out, losing their vibrant glamour, wrinkling, folding, drooping. How appropriate that, this year, they ran out of steam on Palm Sunday. What a mirroring punctuation to what we are experiencing spiritually.
Palm Sunday! Grand processions reminded us of Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem. We gripped our palm fronds and joined in procession with the clergy, altar servers, and choir members. “All glory, laud, and honor to thee, Redeemer, King!”… the organ notes soared, the words echoed, we all got caught up in the majesty of the celebration. Then, bit by bit, a descent began, until we came to the Passion Gospel, and then the descent accelerated.
Soon… up again, as we experienced the Eucharist, a reminder that greater descent will come, but it will all be made right through Jesus’ death on the Cross and Resurrection. Still, the descent is to come. Mass ended with a quiet exit by those who, just a short while before, had entered the church so triumphantly.
And now the descent accelerates as we worship and meditate our way through Holy Week. Maundy Thursday. Good Friday. Such darkness and despair, mixed with deep gratitude for Jesus, the one at the center of the suffering. Yet, we know, in the back of our minds, how it all turns out. Our low cannot reach the low of Jesus as he experienced separation from God. Out low cannot reach the low of Jesus’ followers who were there when he was crucified. We know how it turns out. They had faith, but the brutal horror of the experience shook them to the depths of their spirits.
What was experienced then is beyond our comprehension? Even though we know how it turns out, the mysteries of God, Jesus, and the Resurrection are still beyond our full understanding. Perhaps the explosive release at the return of the Alleluias during the Great Vigil of Easter, the ascending joy of remembering, proclaiming, Jesus’ Resurrection, is colored somewhat with question marks. We know but we don’t know fully. We can only know of God what he wants us to know. And what a source of joy that the all-powerful One, the One of infinite power, chooses to love us and provide for us.
The mystery of God is so huge we can’t comprehend its immensity. The daffodils and tulips right in front of our eyes are of a more comprehendible size, yet still steeped in mystery. When they fade we know that they are alive and will return in their season. Within their bulbs, in the earth, what will be the next season’s leaves and stems, and flowers are preparing.
We live surrounded by such mystery because our Creator is beyond our full knowing. What a great source of joy. What a reason to live in constant gratitude and thanksgiving. God, the all-powerful creator of all that there is, so powerful that he is beyond our comprehension, made each of us and loves each of us.
A blessed Holy Week and Easter to all.