I will begin with a confession. This is my fifth time through the Revised Common Lectionary as a preacher, but the first time I will be preaching on Palm Sunday in Year B. In past years, I have used a Passiontide drama I wrote in 2003 based on the readings from Mark’s gospel. This year it will be used on Maundy Thursday, so I am staring down eleven verses that end in a peculiarly non-triumphant fashion. Perhaps you are, too.
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11:11, NRSV)
It was already late.
That phrase captivates me, and I think it may be the hook for my sermon, in which I hope to bring the listeners into the moment with Jesus and the disciples, to feel the tension and the danger of being in Jerusalem and under threat from the religious leaders.
From the Passion readings, I plan to draw on Philippians, which emphasized the dual nature of Jesus Christ, reminding us that he came among us “in human likeness” and “in human form.” At the beginning of Holy Week, it feels important to be aware that the one who would be lifted up lived in a human body.
What are your thoughts for Palm/Passion Sunday? Will it be straight up Palms? A look into the Passion? Or some combination? Share your plans in the comments!