There it is: Holy Week. At long last, after the fullness of the Lenten season — the extra workload in your faith community, the extra discipline in your spiritual life, the extra chocolate to counter the stress of the extra workload — now at last Holy Week is in sight. Now at last, the emotional height of the season unfolds. Now at last, you can start counting the days until a well-deserved Easter Sunday nap.
But first up: the Palm Sunday sermon.
Perhaps it’s Palm/Passion Sunday in your tradition, however I prefer to let Holy Week’s liturgical moods unfold slowly, so let’s focus on the Liturgy of the Palms (parts of Psalm 118 as well as Luke 19:28-40) in the Revised Common Lectionary.
Psalm 118 celebrates a reversal of fortune while Luke 19 highlights a reversal of power. A rejected stone becomes a cornerstone, and a majestic ruler rides on an awkward young colt. A cry for help becomes a song of praise, and the attempted silencing of a rebellion makes room for earth itself to shout.
So does your sermon help those gathered listen to earth’s shouting, or does it tune the gathering’s praise to be louder & more faithful?
Does the homiletic moment make room for rejected stones to be essential — not just applauded at the margins but centered — in your faith community?
Are the discouraged accompanied through the gates, or do only the confident in faith join the parade?
What does your faith community need in this Palm Sunday sermon … and what does Christ need (Luke 19:34)?
And of course, that most critical Palm Sunday sermon question: When do you give out the psalms in worship, after which point you can expect the pews to be full of distracted-palm-leaf-crafters of all ages?
Share your sermonizing notes, questions, blogging, and Holy Week traditions in the comments as we encourage one another toward Sunday’s sermon.
Rachel G. Hackenberg‘s book with co-author Martha Spong, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith), searches for faith through life’s trials. Rachel has also written Writing to God and Sacred Pause.
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