Sunday, April 13, 2014

Umpteenth Palm/Passion Sunday

This was my umpteenth Palm/Passion Sunday as a worship leader. That means it was my 34th, although I suppose it was my 59th as a human being. The two shouldn't be confused! I have been around so long that in my early years, right through to the beginning of seminary, this Sunday was Palm Sunday...stop. It was a parade, a party, with lots of children waving palm branches. Some folk have told me that they are old enough that they are "pre-palm" in terms of actual branches. Protestants have traditionally been suspicious of anything but words in worship, and really leery of anything Roman Catholic.

For most of my ministry we have begun with the celebration of that odd procession into Jerusalem, with peasants hoping that another peasant would lead them to freedom. The outcome was not what most hoped for, and let's be truthful, we aren't all that good at allowing Jesus to be the lowly Christ even today. It is a lesson that bears repeating each year.

Now we make sure that we move into the passion of Jesus as well, the bewildering, unfair, painful days of the week between this Sunday and Easter joy. We have accepted, liturgically at least, that the fast comes before the feast. Jumping from the parade of palms to the empty tomb is Hollywood, not Holy Week.

We left the sanctuary in silence this morning. On the way we draped the pulpit and cross in black. We removed the flowers and dimmed the lights.

Easter is coming, but our love for Christ demonstrates respect as we move toward Calvary and the cross.

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