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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Home Stretch Edition

Friends, it is getting close to Easter, thanks be to God! This Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday on our Western Christian calendar. The two sets of readings can be found here and here.

I have used both readings so far each year. (I almost wrote "traditionally", but I'm not sure that three years a tradition makes.) it makes for an action-packed, tricky Sunday, especially when it happens to be communion Sunday, as it is this year. The liturgy will have to be tight, and the transitions nearly seamless, if we are to get out of there under 90 minutes.

I'm curious: for your congregations will it be palms and "Hosannas", mockery and "Crucify!", or both?


  1. After last week off, I am glad to be returning to worship this Sunday.I am going to focus mainly on the Palm Sunday readings, with a little hint of passion, hopefully preparing folks to join us on Good Friday. In scanning some of the resources out there, several have picked up the April Fool's Day theme and interspersed it with Palm Sunday. I am looking toward that as my message topic.

  2. We are doing something very different this can check it out here

  3. Praise God that Holy Week is almost here! After a seemingly endless, though wonderful, preaching series through Romans, I'm ready for some Hosannas.

    We do a full Holy Week worship schedule, with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. So it's palms for the good folk this week.

  4. Sounds like a great idea mompriest!

    WE are mixing the two here with the sermon Mob Politics -- Who's the Fool Now??

    I haven't actually decided who the fool is mind you.

  5. Mompriest - your Sunday sounds like it will be incredible. Well done!

    We will have both Palms and Passion - we're actually calling it "Palm & Passion Sunday" on our bulletin. Following the traditional entrance into the church, we'll do a congregational reading of the Passion narrative, and yours truly will NOT be reading the part of Jesus (actually, I may not read at all). But I will preach Maundy Thursday, so there is still a sermon to prepare!

  6. Cheesehead,
    In my teen years Palm Sunday was a marahon. WE had confirmations (which often included one or two adult baptisms) and sometimes membership transfers and then communion. Add in a Palm parade with a large Sunday School to start the service and 90 minutes would have seemed like a blessing (even with all that happening the minister of the era never seemed to think that a shorter sermon was in order--if anything it was longer).

    I shudder to think what would have happened if we did both stories as well. AS it was teaching Sunday School on those Sundays was a bit of an adventure -- keeping 10-12 year olds busy for 2 hours that is.

  7. Cheesehead - do you preach a sermon in addition to the readings? Just curious.

  8. Preacher Mom, this is what I have planned:
    * Palm parade with kids and "All Glory Laud and Honor"

    * The usual liturgy pieces of Call to Worship, Confession, Assurance of Pardon, Peace.

    * Choir Anthem,

    * Palm Sunday Scripture reading from Luke 19,

    * Palm Sunday Reader's Theatre with two voices and choir, (three pages long)

    * Dramatic reading from our "Christ on Trial" sermon series,

    * Passion Scriptures from Mark (because it fits with the reading above)

    The offering and communion.

    No sermon, as such. I had someone wise tell me once that the Passion story preaches itself. To try to add to it or analyze it is pointless. I tend to agree.

  9. Sounds great, Cheesehead! Thanks!

  10. Hiya everyone-
    We're doing palms palms sing sing first - then a readers' theatre version of the rest of the week. No idea how to get April Fool's in there - can you say more, quakerpastor? I convinced worship committee to skip communion since we'll get it Thursday and Easter both too. I'm somehow using the Borg/Crossan article in the current Christian Century - I'm interested in the stuff about the Hosanna crowds and the crucify him crowds NOT being the same people - and their summary of the last week stuff is very helpful since I haven't read the book yet.

  11. Ha - just reread what I said - sounds like I meant I haven't read THE book yet - I did read the Bible, once or twice, in seminary I think. I meant I haven't read Borg/Crossan's last week book.

  12. We're doing mostly Palms with the Palm reading in Luke 19. Our Kids are doing their program with the children's choir and tone chimes. It will be a very full Sunday morning. We will have the Stone speak (weekly lenten symbol) and sing I Danced in the Morning so there will be some passion mentioned this Sunday.

  13. I really can't say what it will be yet. I am doing the Christ on Trial sermons series, this one on John and Jesus. It fits into communion. I think the kids will come in waving Palm Branches, but I don't think I am preaching on it.

    And Cheesehead, my parishioners would walk out at an hour they wouldn't stand for 90 minutes.

  14. yikes Holy week is nearly here and I have to do the morning devotional at school on Monday ... thanks for the reminder.

    Cheesehead - thanks for passing on the teaching that the passion story preaches itself ... :)

  15. I'm doing Palms and more palms, with some rocks. The theme of the day (beyond the screaming/singing children with palms) is "if these were silent, the stones would shout aloud"--the choir is singing a gospel piece called "Ain't No Rock Gonna Shout For Me" and that's the basic point. That we can't keep the story quiet. Somehow that's going to move, at the end of a very short sermon, to hint at the rest of the week. And we're ending with Ride On...etc with the emphasis on the last verse "ride on to die" all minor-key and dark. fun.

    I wish I knew how to work Palm Crosses in to the children's time and still have the children's parade at that time as well...hmmm...

  16. MomPriest, very cool!

    We're doing a combination...Start with the palms and singing (we have people with mobility issues, so no palm procession for us); I'm doing a meditation (no idea what that will be) on the Psalm and Luke passages; then move to Communion and then a contemporary reading on the crucifixions that happen all around us very day and then another meditation to close the service.

    Not quite sure how I'll do the meditations--I want them to be parallel or connected in some form. I like the idea of the crowds, Gord, thanks...maybe I can use that as the bridge. And once I know how I'm going to tie them together, I'll use that for the Communion prayers. We're pretty free form when it comes to the consecration itself.

    And no idea at all for the Spotlight on the Scriptures (AKA children's moment).

  17. We are using the processional gospel with the palms & hosannas... but moving toward a non-lectionary text which I'll preach on - it immediately follows Jesus' entry into Jerusalem - Jesus weeping over the city b/c they did not recognize their visitation from God. How often that is us - we miss God right there - RIGHT THERE. There is still time to open our eyes & our hearts before Easter.

  18. We are switching it up a little. I'm thinking of Sunday as a sort of microcosm of Holy Week. (We do Thursday and Friday services, but Thursday's only at St. Smaller and Friday's only at St. Larger, and a number of people won't want to come out at night, so this is the shorthand version of Holy Week.)

    So...we'll start with the Palm Sunday story, complete with procession of palms. I'll preach a VERY SHORT sermon, not really on the text per se, but more on the day. Then we'll move into Communion (i.e. Maundy Thursday), and then we will close with the reading of the Passion (i.e. Good Friday).

    And really, in agreement with Cheesehead and others, what else can you say after you read the Passion story? So I'm reading it, we're singing the final hymn, and then we're outta there.

  19. I'm doing Palm/Passion Sunday, beginning with kids running up the aisle to yell out a Call to Worship that Jesus is coming. Then a big children's choir, adult choir anthem which includes the congregation joining in for All Glory Laud and Honor. I'll read the Palm text from Mark (I think), then have a SHORT homily, mostly because people have been saying they can't wait to hear me preach (part-time parish associate). It will talk about why we sometimes combine Palms and Passion, because otherwise we go from victory to victory and that is not the way of the cross. A short dip into Jesus washing the disciples' feet, then a plain reading of Luke's passion. Ending with some more music, but no more preaching. I'm toying with another idea for children, involving drawing in lines on a simple picture of the cross while the congregation sings, but not sure I will pull this off in time.

  20. Stripes:
    Will Willimon's sermon in pupit resource is called "Fools for Christ" I am also thinking of including somehow the lyrics to Rich Mullins' Let Mercy Lead:
    "Let mercy lead
    Let love be the strength in your legs
    And in every footprint that you leave
    There'll be a drop of grace
    If we can reach
    Beyond the wisdom of this age
    Into the foolishness of God
    That foolishness will save
    Those who believe
    Although their foolish hearts may break
    They will find peace
    And I'll meet you in that place
    Where mercy leads"
    I am also realizing that the passion will play a more prominent role in my stuff than I actually thought.

  21. On the theory that there is no Easter without Good Friday, I like to do Palm and Passion together on this Sunday, since so many people just blip over the rest of the week's content.
    We're using a dramatic reading (13 readers--oy! the logistics!!) that paraphrases Luke. It will be in place of the sermon, and Communion will be served in the midst of it, when we reach the Last Supper. There is a significant prop component, and tomorrow afternoon's task is gathering some of them.
    I couldn't agree more about allowing the story to tell itself on Palm Sunday.

  22. Abi, I will probably run at about 75 minutes, since I'm leaving out a children's message. My peeps can usually handle that.

    This is a wonderful sharing of ideas here. The fact that this is April Fool's day went completely over my head. Good for you, Gord, et al.

  23. The palm procession is a distant memory here -- people seem to think it disrupts worship to have them in the pews, and traditionally pass them out during the last hymn. (Thanks for coming to church, here's your prize!) So this year the worship committee decided to bring back the palms at the beginning of the service - -no procession (I keep telling myself "baby steps") but there will be waving and singing for the first hymn. Due to study leave and a big annual fundraiser I have been out of the pulpit 2 of the last 3 weeks and was strongly encouraged by the worship committee to preach. Somehow I have to make the transition from Palms to Passion.

    As for time, Abi, I have lots of folks who walk out exactly at 60 minutes, no matter where we are in the service. If it's a communion week they will give me an extra 15 minutes. I the sermon will head down the road to Maundy Thursday and Good friday, hinting at services during the week. Palm Sunday last year was my first sermon in this pulpit, so it is more than a little hazy! I decided not to mark the anniversary so the focus can stay where it should be.

  24. Well, on top of it being Palm/Passion Sunday, it's also our congregation's 75th Anniversary celebration. Our synodical bishop is coming to preach, and due to the celebratory nature of the day AND the fact that we'll still have Maundy Thursday/Good Friday services later in the week, we're using the "Palm Sunday with hosannas" reading from Luke as our gospel and bypassing the passion reading.

    That doesn't mean this is going to be any easier of a service, however. The pastor and I put together a service that's liturgical but "hybrid" in style, mixing up old and new styles of songs to make up the parts of the liturgy and hymns, in an attempt to capture as much of 75 years of worship practice as we can. All told, there will be 14 pieces of congregationally sung music plus a choir anthem. Now granted, much of that ends up being hymns or songs that take the place of parts of the liturgy, but it's still a heckuva lot of music. some of it will be played up front with a praise band, and some of it I'll play from the balcony on the organ, so I'll be getting quite the workout too!

    I wrote a hymn for the occasion--knowing that it was going to be on Palm Sunday I made sure to include some Palm Sunday-ish imagery in the lyrics. But I think this may be the very first Palm sunday service I've ever been to that didn't include "All Glory Laud and Honor."

    I've spent the past 2 weeks creating "leadsheets" of all the congregational music from scratch, converting them to .pdf, and copying and pasting into the bulletin so there will be no need to use hymnals or the like.

    Ironically, I think the buildup to Easter will involve less work than the buildup to the 75th Anniversary. =)

  25. Wow, lutheranhusker! That sounds very impressive and exhausting! (The preparation, I mean. I'm sure the worship will be edifying and joyful.)

  26. Yeah, Lutheran Husker, you tired me out just reading it. I love the ideas. I wish I could come to all your churches. It occured to me reading your thoughts that I grew up in a church that had no idea what it was about. Now wonder I love the liturgy and high church stuff.

  27. Obviously I don't plan our liturgy, but we will be doing the traditional Palm Sunday deal: start in the yard with palms, march around the churchyard singing and waving palms, make Baptists from down the street wonder. Go inside for the Hosanna and then the "Crucify Him!"

    We have services every night during Holy Week. Zoinks.

  28. Looking ahead a bit (I know, doesn't the world Easter Sunday? Do we still have to plan worship after that?) I'm planning on a Yom HaShoah service for the 15th--the Holocaust Remembrance.

    Much of what I have (my seminary did one every year) is focused (rightfully so) on the Jewish victims. However, I want to broaden our horizons a bit and remind the congregation not only of the Jews and gays and lesbians (which of course they are aware of--or had better be), but the Catholic clergy, the SDAs, the Roma, and others. I will probably use the story of Father Kolbe (who volunteered to be killed in place of another person) but I have a feeling I'm missing bunches of resources.


  29. I've enjoyed reading the posts today and all the creative worship services being planned...WOW. Thanks for sharing!

  30. We are having communion on Maundy Thursday and not on Sunday. Next year we'll try to have it on Easter proper.

    This Sunday we are doing palms and Passion. The liturgy will bring us up. And then the liturgy will take us down. There we will stay until Easter.

  31. I'm a day late. Can't believe I forgot yesterday was Tuesday!

    "traditionally" our choir performs their cantata Palm Sunday which takes us clear through the resurrection. (grr) This year they haven't practiced enough yet, and have put it off till the SUnday after Easter.

    So I will play dress up and dramatize 'The Last Week' (thanks to Borg and Crossan!)


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