Well, this is the Sunday that preachers all over think about for weeks before it gets here. The dilemma: What to do–preach Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday, or both?
As I explained to the group that met for Lectionary discussion last night, that decision is largely made in the context of a) pastoral habit (or the design of the worship committee) and b) local custom. For the congregation I serve, since we do not have a Good Friday service, and since the Maundy Thursday Tenebrae is rather lightly attended, I tend to include both a Palm and Passion narrative on this Sunday.
Mark’s description of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem ends with the peculiar details in verse 11. What does the gospel writer mean when he says that Jesus looked around at everything, saw that it was late, and left? It almost seems as if the crowd has already abandoned Jesus at this point, and that it is too late for Jesus to do anything about what is going to happen.
The group and I spent time last night comparing the synoptic Passion narratives, looking for differences and similarities. We will proclaim this portion of Mark through dramatic reading. It is my firm belief that this particular text proclaims itself, that all the truth and terrible beauty that is to be found in it is in the reading of it.
So, preachers and students of the Word, what are your thoughts on the Palm/Passion conundrum, and how will the good Word be proclaimed where you are this Sunday?