Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Collect for the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, Episcopal Book of Common Prayer)

Here we are preachers–heading into the home stretch of Holy Week. Lent has felt short to me this year, unlike most years, and I’m stunned to be looking at these readings. But here they are.

Giotto_di_Bondone_013-mediumWe tend to refer to this Sunday as Palm Sunday, and in the Liturgy of the Psalms we get the story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, but for many, if not most of us the reading of the Passion narrative will dominate our liturgies, this year from Matthew. It’s a long reading, giving us a real set up for Holy Week and Easter; indeed the argument has been made that hearing this gospel is all the preparation those who don’t attend Holy Week services will get. I’ve actually debated with friends about whether we should try to preach on this gospel or let it stand on its own. If you do decide to preach it, will you tackle the whole thing, or focus on one part of the story? Working Preacher offers several different themes from this gospel that might help us find focus for our preaching.

Although it’s hard to imagine focusing on anything other than the gospel this week, the other readings provide A_LiturgyofthePalms-mediumrelevant alternatives. The reading from Isaiah is one of four poem found in Isaiah dealing with servant leadership, a popular phrase in today’s world. The example in Isaiah might provide a jumping off point for considering Jesus’ servant leadership. And the reading from the letter to the Phillppians sums up all of Holy Week in the form of a beautiful hymn which might provide a fresh approach to this important Sunday.

Do you know where you are headed this week? Are you ready for the onslaught of Holy Week? Share your ideas, questions, ponderings and inspirations with us here.

7 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary~~Palms and Passion edition

  1. I plan to preach on Maundy Thursday on Fr. Francis van der Lugt- the Jesuit priest who was assassinated in Homs, Syria this week. His life is a wonderful example of a priest “washing the feet of the poor” in practice, it seems to me. He refused to leave despite the fighting, in order to stay with his people, lived on whatever limited food was available, and refused to distinguish in his ministry between Christians and Moslems .
    Rev. Margaret Rodrigues
    Anglican Diocese of Toronto


    1. Thank You.

      And please remember all those faithful Arab priests who have stayed in Syria, Iraq and Palestine to serve, despite the temptations to leave. Remember abducted Archbishops John and Paul who, from different denominations, were on a risky peace mission together when they went missing over one year ago. Remember their companion Deacon Fathallah who was executed on the scene. Remember the Iraqi priests beheaded and tortured in the last decade, and the lay people murdered.

      And remember one of the great Arab priests living in your own diocese, who single-handedly kept the Anglican church alive in Israel after the creation of the state and the ethnic cleansing of his fellow Palestinians, when other Palestinian clergy were not allowed back in for two decades: Fr. Rafik Farah.


  2. some years we have celebrated palm Sunday, some moving from Palm to Passion – not sure what to do this year – which a worry as it is lunchtime on Wednesday.
    Most years we get a reasonable turnout on Friday morning [a public holiday here in Australia] and a lower than average attendance on Sunday morning. some people come to Friday morning before heading off for holidays. Easter is a four day weekend, Friday to Monday, adn teh middle of school holidays this year, so i am not expecting many here for Easter.
    interested in looking up teh person Margaret mentioned. Thursday evening there is no sermon usually.

    time for lunch


  3. Thank you for your summary of the readings. I was so focussed on the gospels for this Sunday I hadn’t really read the others. I was wondering how to do Palm Sunday but incorporate the events of Holy Week for those who won’t come to the services during the week. I think that by mixing the Philippians reading of Passion readings with the Gospel for Palm Sunday I can do it without the whole service being readings. (I am not a fan of huge, long readings as I think people switch off and stop listening after a while – my excuse for keeping sermons short too!)


  4. i am thinking about what kind of rally/parade we would be part of, and what paarde we would watch. on Palm Sunday there are usually peace marches in Australia, this year they are focussing on refugees. i wish it wasn’t Palm SUnday, such a busy week to add something extra into – but that makes me as apathetic as some/most of teh congregation.


  5. In previous years I have done palms in the morning and a reading of the passion at the evening service. But this means that those who only ever attend on Sunday morning do not have any insight into the events between… So this years I’m beginning with a procession of palms and the reading. Then late we will have a dramatic reading of the passion. The very short sermon will focus on the crowds… Inspired by this poem I wrote a number of years ago…


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