This is the beginning of Holy Week. In other times and other places this Sunday would be Palm Sunday, pure and simple. In this time and this place (and many others) this is Palm / Passion Sunday. Our schedules of work and other responsibilities have made a traditional Good Friday service virtually impossible for most folks so this Sunday is a conflation of Palm Sunday and Good Friday. This is not the easiest assignment for a preaching person. The temptation is to do a combination of the two stories but more or less preaching two sermons jammed together, i.e. the celebration of Palms and the despair of Good Friday . . . do not give in to this temptation, what you are about to attempt is almost impossible. Some preaching people just call it Palm Sunday and hope their people make it to a Good Friday service somewhere. I suspect that some take the tack of preaching Good Friday just to ensure that the people in the pews hear it sometime.
This year the juxtaposition of the two days took me in a different direction than ever before. What if we look at what these two days represent in Jesus to us? What if we look at what these two days can teach us? It is all too easy and completely understandable to think that Palm Sunday and especially Good Friday are days that are fundamentally beyond us and have no meaningful connection with us. Easy and understandable as it may be, I would put it to you that it is also incorrect.
One of the fundamental aspects of Jesus’ ministry on earth is his experience. Jesus experienced everything that we experience; the good and the bad but to the nth degree. The sermons this week tease out how in Jesus we are fully understood.
Knox Presbyterian Did we need both?
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Did we need both?
I pray that all of you have a blessed Holy Week.