Holy Week is about to begin! Are you ready? Which pieces of the story will you share on each day? Does this Sunday bring you to Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem, or the story of his passion? Both? Will folks return to hear more of the story on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday? Will you have a vigil on Saturday? This Sunday’s worship service can set the tone for the entire week. No pressure 🙂
If you’re preaching on the Triumphal Entry, what will be your focus? Theories abound as to the meaning of Jesus’ entry – was it happening simultaneously with the entrance of a Roman leader through another gate? Did Jesus’ parade take the wind out of the sails of the occupying empire? Regardless, what does it mean for us today? Perhaps you could compare Jesus’ triumphal entry with marches of students, political protests, journeys of refugees, or other processions that carry meaning for your community.
If you are reading the Passion narrative, particularly from John, may I suggest that you replace the word “Jews” with the word “Judeans”? It’s the same Greek word, but with far less of the anti-Semitic baggage. Our goal as preachers is to help our folks find their place in the Passion narrative. If they leave worship blaming “the Jews” for Jesus’ death, we have missed the opportunity to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus, and understanding of his death.
Philippians brings us the Christ Hymn, likely one of the earliest pieces of Scripture. This description of Jesus can compliment either the Palm or the Passion Gospel lessons. Likewise, the reading from Isaiah 50 can help us understand more of who Jesus is, and what his Triumphal Entry and Passion signify for his followers.
Blessings to you in your preparations for this holiest week in the church year! Please share your ideas, challenges, and questions below. And don’t forget to take a break for self-care in the midst of everything else!
Katya Ouchakof is co-pastor of Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI. She is looking forward to a few days off after Easter, to celebrate new life by catching up on sleep!
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