Everyone loves a parade and Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary readings offer you two. The first parade has Jesus entering into Jerusalem amid joyous celebration and the other a more macabre march to the cross. You can find the Palms here and the Passion here.

Our congregation holds several special services during Holy Week so we will be looking at the palms passage. In the small congregation I serve, 50 average attendance, we will all gather outside, weather permitting, and process together into the sanctuary saying “Hosanna” and “Blessed is Jesus.” This multi-generational parade gives us all a chance to experience some childlike joy.

What will your congregation be doing Sunday? Will you have a children’s parade? Will you change the appearance of your worship space?  Which parade will you preach on?

I invite you to place ideas and questions in this space so that we might bounce them off of one another and inspire each other. I ask you also to lift up B in your prayers today. I will be with her all day as she has a difficult surgery to relieve pressure in her frontal lobe and learns if her cancer has spread. Thank you.

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The Reverend Cardelia Howell-Diamond serves a Cumberland Presbyterian congregation in Alabama. She and her clergyman husband have three children. Cardelia rejoices to have found new Easter clothing for everyone in her family, with the minor exception of herself. She hopes to remedy this soon.
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9 thoughts on “RCL: Everyone Loves a Parade

  1. I love to begin with the procession including the Gospel reading, singing, and children with palms. For the past several years, I have involved the congregation in reading the passion story rather than preaching a sermon. I read the narration, have someone read Jesus’ words and the congregation reads everyone else’s words. It’s especially poignant when they shout, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
    Hopefully, it gets them thinking !

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  2. i am planning on staying with palms and the turning over of the tables in the temple – adding the next few verses of the Gospel reading.

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  3. Hi there – Palms here. Working on an idea that is not very well formed yet, and wonder if you all have any further resources you could suggest. The donkey and the colt – lots of chatter about this as a literary device in the commentary I’m reading on line. But I’m wondering if there is some advent/christmas parallelism happening here. Jesus comes into the world an infant as his mother’s breast. He prepares to meet his death while riding on a donkey who is still nursing its foal. I love the parallel imagery of nurture, intimacy, maternal care…. Any suggestions about scholars who have explored this?

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  4. Last year we re-organized the Palm/Passion Sunday liturgy so that the first half of the service focuses on the triumphal entry, then after the sermon we change focus to the passion narrative, reading bits of the story before/during/after the celebration of Communion. It worked very well last year, so we’re trying it again!

    I’m not preaching this week (my co-pastor is) so I’m already looking ahead to Maundy Thursday. Blessings to all who are working on something for Sunday!

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  5. We will focus on palms this year, with the theme, “What were you expecting?” We alternate Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services with the other Methodist church in town, and this is our year for Maundy Thursday. We are printing a finger labyrinth as a bulletin insert, and along with celebrating Communion, we will spend several minutes in silence for individual prayer, then move to small groups to pray. As we enter the garden of Gethsemane, the focus will be on the importance Jesus placed on prayer. (The other church is hosting Good Friday, and we will do 7 Last Words there). Then on Easter, we will dust off the handbells that haven’t been rung in at least five years, and ring them in wild abandon for the “Alleluia!” introit – and with less wild abandon for a couple of the hymns. We’ve been adding a couple of relatively new worship songs to the congregation’s repertoire, so we can sing those with some confidence, and I wrote a violin obbligato to the tune “Holy Manna” – with Easter words. The sermon for Easter is “Who will you tell?” I’ve been urging folks to invite a guest for Easter breakfast and worship, so I’m looking forward to meeting some new people!

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