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Palm / Passion Sunday Open Thread

Here’s an open place for discussing Palm Sunday. A few possible starter questions: What are you planning? What are your challenges? How do you handle the transition from the Liturgy of the Palms to the Liturgy of the Passion?

{ 4 } Comments

  1. Pamela Smith | February 28, 2008 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Last year during Lent we put out strips of fabric and invited people to write on them what they hoped for in the Kingdom of God. They put these strips on the ground for the crucifer to walk over at the Palm Sunday procession – our “garments.” Later we sewed these into a quilt-like banner – there’s a picture of it at – and we’ll process that banner at this year’s Palm Sunday procession. We also used the visions on those garments to revise our Prayers of the People together as a summer project last year.

    This year we are tackling the difficult transition in the Palm Sunday liturgy by inserting five short readings before the Passion Gospel, to show how provocative, how intentional and how brave Jesus was in the troublemaking he did in Jerusalem between the palm procession and the last supper. Here’s how those stack up:

    Psalm 118: 1-4 (refrain, The Lord is on my side, therefore I will not fear.)
    Matthew 21:12-27 – Jesus overturns the tables of the moneychangers.
    Psalm 118: 5-9 (same refrain)
    Matthew 21: 33-46 – Jesus tells the story of the vineyard owner and the greedy vinedressers.
    Psalm 118: 10-14 (same refrain)
    Matthew 22: 15-36 – The Pharisees and Sadducees test Jesus with questions.
    Psalm 118: 15-19 (same refrain)
    Matthew 23: 23-39 – Jesus addresses the scribes and Pharisees.
    Psalm 118: 20-24 (same refrain)
    Matthew 25: 31-46 – Jesus tells the story of the Last Judgement.
    Psalm 118: 25-29 (same refrain)
    Matthew 26: 1-16 – The woman with the costly ointment.

    and then on to the gradual anthem – in fact, here’s the hymns for Palm Sunday:

    In procession: Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord (from Godspell)
    Psalm Refrain: from the New Camaldoli Monastery, and I wish they would publish more of their liturgical music!
    Gradual Anthem: Ride On, King Jesus! This is the Alice Parker arrangement but this wonderful song about Jesus’ courage is also available as a hymn in the Lift Every Voice and Sing hymnal.
    Passion Hymn: O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded – Hymnal 1982 setting
    Sanctus/Fraction – Hurd New Plainsong
    Hymn at Communion – As Jacob with travel was weary, Hymnal 1982 #453. We ask people to substitute “Hosanna” for “Alleluia.” A wonderful Palm Sunday hymn.
    Closing Hymn: When I survey the wondrous Cross, sung to the folk tune O Waly Waly. We fade out the organ during this and do not use it again until the end of the Great Vigil.

  2. Phil | February 28, 2008 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    I really like what you did with the strips of cloth.

    At the Church of the Advocate, we gave people big, whole palm branches, and invited them to bring flowers and branches from redbuds and dogwoods if they had them, and when the procession reached the door of the church, everyone threw down their palms and braches and flowers to make a short path that the crucifer walked over in silence. Your strips of cloth would fit right in with this.

    We found that a lightly modified version of the South African “Jesus is coming” (with Hosannas instead of Alleluias, and an added verse of “Hosanna. glory”) makes a really excellent song (with drums!) for processing with the palms.

    We also used selected verses of “A stable lamp is lighted” (in the Christmas section of the Hymnal 1982) to try and make the transition from the joyful procession outside to the telling of the passion inside.

    I look forward to hearing the report of how the extra readings change things. I really like the idea a lot.

  3. Miranda | March 7, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Pamela, for the list! I have no control over the liturgy this year, alas, but I am preaching – so I may just offer some of this story arc as my homily.

  4. Pamela Smith | March 13, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Last year at Saint David’s Episcopal Church in Bean Blossom, Indiana, Tim Fleck – who recently commented on this blog – preached a fine Palm Sunday sermon on Jesus’ image of protecting Jerusalem like a mother hen; this sermon is online in the sermon archive at our church blog,

    WordPress blog stats report what search terms search engines have used to find our blog, and I am very pleased to report that Tim’s sermon was found today by someone searching for SPIRITUAL CLEANSING WITH A CHICKEN

    I think this shows we are doing a good job being all things to all people…

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