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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Palms or Passion?

Lessons for this Sunday can be found here .
Are you gearing up for the Holy Week/Easter worship marathon?

At our place we are observing Palm Sunday -- the order's gone in to the florist for our greenery, and our children have been prepped on their role in the coming Sunday's processional.

Are you also going that route -- exploring the dramatic tension and bitter irony of that entry into Jerusalem? Or are you bypassing the Palm Sunday text to emphasize the greater drama and mystery of Jesus' final "pouring out" of his life that truly holy week?

And how do we put either of the Sunday's themes into a context that's graspable and meaningful by people (particularly children) surrounded by Peeps, Easter egg trees and inflatable front-yard bunnies?

As always, your ponderings and insights are welcome here as we plan, pray and preach our way through the week.


  1. Every Wednesday, I post a reflection on the coming Sunday's Gospel, which is then used in several churches' newsletters (my old church, my new church, my mom's church--I'm syndicated!). This week, I'll be writing on the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero (martyred on March 24, 1980) and thinking about the Passion of Jesus. Of course, I named my blog Liberation Theology Lutheran, so that I would notice this juxtaposition should come as no surprise.

  2. I have two services, one will be palms, the other passion...I love both themes so glad I can visit both, we won't have a procession for the palms...

    as for inflatable front yard bunnies, thankfully I don't have any to contend with...

  3. It's a two gospel Sunday for Episcopalians. We read the triumphal entry before going into church and the Passion at the usual gospel time. This year,I think the bulk of my sermon will come from the first and segue into the second. At least that is my best laid plan.
    Then there's the sermons for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Easter. It's a big week. The deacon will likely do one of the early ones but I'm on for the rest. Wednesday of Holy Week, we do Tenebrae so no sermon that day.

  4. We do Palms, and expect people to show up for Good Friday....which mostly works. about 75% of people come back for Friday...
    Except that this year it's spring break. That's right, Friday afternoon every family in the county gets out of here to someplace warm, and they won't come back until next weekend. SO..for the first time ever, we won't have a palm processional and we won't have children's choirs singing. And for the first time in 5 years, I'm not preaching palm Sunday. Our guest preacher is focusing on being close to Jesus or something...the disciples helping him onto the donkey, smelling/feeling/touching...feeling his passion for God, his passion for his call, his passion for God's people and God's kingdom...and relating that to The Passion I think, but who knows.

    I'm thinking about the possibility of recycling my Maundy Thursday sermon from 3 years ago (the last time we used this Maundy Thursday format) so I can focus on Easter...I have to decide pretty soon, I suppose. Otherwise options will run out!

  5. As Margaret said, we Episcopalians get the drama and intensity of celebrating the triumphal entry with palms, and then we shout Crucify him! during the passion gospel. It is heady and wonderful and awful and difficult and completely exhausting... and I can't imagine any better way to kick off Holy Week.

    When I read the lections for Sunday, I noticed that the theme of being human wove through all of them. God wants us to transcend our imperfections, but it doesn't come very naturally to us. So my reflection this week focused on being human and what this might mean for us.

    Love and blessings,
    sister hedwyg

  6. Although we have a wonderfully attended Maundy Thursday Service, we also have Spring Break travels to contend with so I will already be turning toward the passion on Sunday.
    I will do a short(er) sermon this week b/c kids are in the service and then, since everyone will have a palm frond, I'm going to walk us through the shaping of the palm into the Cross, which, I think, captures the Lukan text quite well. Then a time of contemplation & singing with "What Wondrous Love Is This."
    NOW, time to crack open the books!

  7. Double gospel on Sunday, Passion gospel read by members of the congregation, palm branches and palm crosses are on hand; then services MTW evenings with reflections on Passion symbols; then student supper and service with footwashing and altar stripping Thursday evening; GF on Friday at 11 (the Rector will lead a childen's program, I'll lead the devotions)...and the Great Vigil on Saturday night with 4 other parishes who seem to have somehow invited themselves to our place, ("Oh, and I need to do a baptism, is that OK?") it may be rather more of a ZOO than usual (even).

  8. Palms for me. With a hint of the shadow to come. I know many folks wont take part in GF services here, maybe more this year since it is a morning rather than an evening and the community cross walk starts from here right after the service. But I think we need to set the stage properly.

    My plan this year is to link PS, GF, and ES sermons in a flow. THis week is , Friday will be Stopping the Kingdom and Easter will be Can't Stop the Kingdom! Time will tell how well it works.

    My opening thoughts for this week are up at the church blog. (The opening thoughts for Friday are written too but won't post until after Palm Sunday worship)

  9. I hope to do a split...palms for most of the service then my sermon/meditation sits between the palm gospel and selected portions from the week that follows. We have a LOVE FEAST on Maundy Thursday but no GF service. So I will try to balance the joy with a look at the cross to come. we shall see. Today is my 'off' day so I really don't want to look at it just yet. ah it will catch up with me tho.

  10. We start off with palms and give a nod to passion later on in the service. We expect folk to return for Good Friday (in fact all of Holy Week). This year, I'm using the gospel along with some reflectionstaking the perspective of some of the participants in that lead up to the cross. So no sermon to prepare which means I can get on and prepare for Holy Week.

  11. Hello. I'm going to start with the palms and end with the beginning of the passion story. We will have choir process singing, but at the end of the service we will silently strip the church and have no postlude.
    I'll add a note with Holy Week services and Easter.

  12. Thanks, Gord and Sister Hedwyg, for your thoughts. Crimson, I'd love to be a part of your zoo. Two of our Episcopal churches in this part of the world do a vigil but mine is not one of them. Have a great time!

  13. We're doing Palms *and* Passion. We'll do the procession with the palms, then transition into the Passion. We'll read the Passion narrative in its entirety using a lessons & hymns format. There won't be a sermon; we let the narrative proclaim the Word. We've done that the past few years, and people have really enjoyed it. Plus, since most folk don't attend Good Friday services, they at least hear the Passion narrative.

    Teri mentioned Spring break. Here it begins Good Friday, which means many of our folk not only won't attend Good Friday services, but won't be here for Easter either. It's weird. Usually Easter is a time that's thought of as being packed. But in our little town, most people take off to enjoy warm weather somewhere. The visitors barely off-set those who are gone, and it looks like a normal Sunday.

  14. Okay, you all inspired me to make a stab at this. Whiplash Sunday may never be heard but it's at least got me thinking about what will!

  15. This week at a meeting we were asked what do we shout Hosanna about today.
    reading Margaret's Whiplash Sunday - I wonder about the contrast in peace. Peace that is forced and maintained by the military is not peace int eh sense of wholeness, inclusion etc.
    what do we hope for in Jesus? many would say peace - but I wonder which peace.

    Was thinking of trying to bridge both Palm and Passion. in past years I have only looked at palm Sunday, but here in Aus Good Friday is the start of a long weekend [4 days] and school holidays - so people who are at church throughout the year are not necessarily at worship these special days.
    Children's talk thinking of going with a story about the donkey from Lost Sheep. the young donkey excitedly tells grandfather about the man who road on his back as the crowd cheered. Grandfather donkey has been in Jerusalem for the week and can tell the young donkey what has happened since - crucifixion. So a crossover for the children.

    and I have never heard of Easter egg trees or inflatable bunnies - I hope that never makes it this far.

  16. Palms here. Just got confirmation on the trumpet player for the palm parade.

  17. For two services we'll do the Episcopal palms to passion theme. However, that's too much for the shorter family service (and we do a great Good Friday stations for all ages) so I'll be doing palms at that one service. I, too, will be teaching them how to make a cross from the palm frond...hands on and with some connections I can make. My mind is busy working on the Easter Vigil sermon and another for Easter Day, so I especially needed this Sunday's to be simple!


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