Palm Sunday was one of the Sundays I most looked forward to growing up, because it meant receiving a palm frond, singing hosannahs, and processing around the church--ritual at its finest. Now I find that Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday, is too distinctly Christian for me to celebrate it the way I once did. It heralds the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, where he will be put to death. This, according to Christian teaching, is the culmination of his three-year ministry, the reason for which he was born, by most Christian estimations. The cross is the primary symbol of Christians--there is no Christianity without Jesus's murderous death (and resurrection).
For me as a Thean, the death of Jesus, the Messiah, is no longer central to me. In fact, the existence of a savior of the world isn't central to me, either. Several other things assume central importance for me: the creation of the world (for isn't it amazing that there is something rather nothing?); the incarnation of Thea, which is the universe; the inherent goodness of all things; the communal command to be reconciled to one another; the radical breaking down of barriers through the sharing of table fellowship; and the ability of all beings to be transformed, whether from death to life or from poor of heart to rich of heart.
Instead of looking for palm fronds to hail a redeemer, I cut branches from one of our orange trees, gave one to each of my girls, and led them on a procession through the deck and the house, that we might bless the spaces we share together. Then I invited them, in honor of the coming of spring, to plant three kinds of seeds in the earth with me. Then I took them to their room, gathered them close to me, and talked with them about what Thea is like, and how we are all of Thea, and how greatly Thea loves us and wants us to love one another.
Singing hosannahs around the house on Palm Sunday has always been comfortable, but today it jars me. I am aware of how much work I have yet to do in developing my thealogy--not only my beliefs, but stories, songs, and rituals. Thean faith and liturgy may look a lot like Christian faith and liturgy, but they are not the same. I have spent a great deal of time focusing on their similarities, but now, more than ever, is the time to focus on the differences. The differences don't make Theanism better or worse than Christianity, but they do make a difference in how and what I teach my daughters about God and our place in the universe. The fact is, I don't want them to grow up thinking that they had to be saved by a God-man. I want them to know that their Goddess, their Thea, is as near as their own bodies, and that they are holy, and that they have all the power they need to effect tremendous change in the world. They don't need Jesus to be their hero; they can be their own heroes, because they are daughters of Thea. And they can do that by planting seeds, whether in the ground, in other's hearts, or in their own hearts. ♥