A Banana Moment

On this day in 1633 the first bananas were imported into England. How they survived the long sea voyage from the Bahamas and were still in a fit state to be eaten beats me, but I do not doubt that they were enjoyed. How we managed to survive World War II without bananas is also a mystery to me, but we did — just.

Why this talk of bananas when you were probably expecting a line or two about the Resurrection? There are some truths so profound one must either write at length or very briefly about them. I tore up my Easter Day post as being too long to read yet not long enough to convey what I wanted it to convey. Then I went and ate a banana and realised that there are banana moments just as there are marmite toast moments.

Marmite toast is comfort food; a banana is as near to paradise as we are ever likely to get in this life. The golden skin of those we eat in Britain, the fragrance, the warm and slightly yeasty taste are a foretaste of the ambrosia we expect at the heavenly banquet. If we are to taste and see that the Lord is good, I think bananas must come high up on the list for doing so — much better than a chocolate Easter egg. So, if you have not yet celebrated Easter in the kitchen, eat a banana, and think how healthy your alternative choice is!

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Palm Sunday 2012

Today, wherever our Palm Sunday celebration takes place, we are in Roman Palestine two thousand years ago. One question we might ask ourselves is, where do we stand? Are we with the crowd following Jesus and singing hosannas; with the bystanders, looking on from a safe distance; or with those indoors, dismissing what is taking place as just another riotous assembly it is better to keep clear of? Our answer can tell us a great deal about ourselves and the way in which we see the unfolding of Holy Week.

Holy Week is quite brutal in the way in which it demands choice from us. If, during the rest of the year, we are rather unremarkable Christians, regular in our church-going and dutiful in giving to good causes, but keen to avoid drawing attention to ourselves and definitely not the stuff of which martyrs are made, this week reminds us that in following Christ we have made the most radical choice imaginable, one we must live to the end. We cannot simply bumble along the way; we must deliberately choose to follow wherever Christ leads.

Today we begin our following with rejoicing, but a rejoicing which already has a hint of menace. On Good Friday we shall see where that menace will take us. For now, we  focus on Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem where we know he will be rejected. Nevertheless, we stand with him every inch of the way. It is a choice we make every day of our lives, not just during Holy Week.

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