Не я б’ю — лоза б’є, За тиждень — Великдень, Будь дужий, як вода, А багатий, як земля!
Not I—the willow taps, In one week—Easter! Be strong as the water and rich as the earth!
Once again we stand at the threshold: the end of Great Lent and the start of Passion Week (Strasnyj Tyzhden’), when we contemplate Christ’s suffering and death. We do this, not as an anniversary, or even as a memorial, but as a renewal of our identity as human beings of God.
Through this week of encounter with the Passion of Christ, we commit to our shared faith that necessitates hope and love where hope and love is not apparent, namely, in the face of suffering and death.
Thus, Kvitna Nedilia, literally Blossom Sunday, is the culmination of our Lenten meditations. We acknowledge, not only our desire for Christ, but we recognize and welcome His arrival into our very being. We know that the throngs in Jerusalem first cried “Hosanna” and then “crucify Him.”
But our Liturgy with the blessing of pussy willows is not a cautionary tale of this hypocrisy. Kvitna Nedilia is a celebration of our hope to be co-creators of the Kingdom—God’s Kingdom—facing our brokenness, we can rejoice in knowing that God works in us and through us despite all our inadequacies.
Despite betrayal, agony, death itself, Christ is alive in the love we share. This is why we
bless the pussy willow branches and take them into our homes. This ancient sign of
spring symbolizes the blossoming of our faith, our assurance that with darkness there
is the light of Resurrection. We carry the branches and take them into our homes. This ancient sign of spring symbolizes the blossoming of our faith, our assurance that with darkness there is the light of Resurrection.
We carry the branches because we carry this light in the world.