This Sunday is called Palm / Passion Sunday. It is a response to the undeniable fact that most people do not find it convenient, and sometimes not even possible, to observe Holy Week; frequently not even Good Friday. So the good people who work out the Liturgical calendar and the Lectionary took what had been Palm Sunday and added the Monday to Saturday portions of Holy Week to it in a new Sunday called . . . Palm / Passion Sunday. As I mention in the St. Mark’s sermon, when I first encountered this notion I considered it a bit of a cop out. I thought that if you weren’t willing to put in the work to at least get to a Good Friday service you were rather cheating. But the more I looked around the more I realized that for many people getting themselves and their families to church on a Friday for a service that is, if done correctly, quite draining is simply too much. I know some of you may be saying something along the lines of “well, how kind of you to allow people to live their lives in the way that works best for them” and I would deserve it.
What is most interesting is that when I began to seriously look at Palm / Passion Sunday I came to the conclusion that it is a wonderful service, most especially in how it forces us to grapple with what it means to be a human being in response to the Christ. The sermon title is “What would we do?” and is addressing which group do we tend to place ourselves in—the celebrants at the triumphal entry or the mob shouting for Jesus’ crucifixion. Not to give too much away from the sermons, this is a false dichotomy, a fallacy to which we are all too prone, we are both.
You may find these sermons very much shorter than usual and they are. The Lectionary texts for Palm / Passion Sunday include, among other portions, all of Mark 14 and 15 with Mark 14 having 72 verses and Mark 15 having 47; suffice it to say that there is a lot in a Palm / Passion service beside anything the preacher might want to say.
Their brevity notwithstanding I think that these are some of the better sermons I have preached. I would strongly recommend that you read aloud the Lectionary texts, click here for the Liturgy of the Palms and here for the Liturgy of the Passion. If you can’t manage all of that at least read Mark 11:1-11 and Mark 14 and 15, I know it is a lot to read but it will really help place the sermons for you.
Knox Presbyterian What would we do?
St. Mark’s Presbyterian What would we do?
I trust that whatever Holy Week observances you make will feed your souls.