Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Palm vs. Passion

As most church folks know, this coming Sunday at church is known as Palm Sunday, excuse me, Passion/Palm Sunday in some churches. This is what I want to rant a bit about today. I know not everyone will agree with me, but its my blog.

Let me say it up front: I am not a fan of combining Palm Sunday with the Passion story. This especially holds true for churches that also hold Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. What's the primary reason for combining Palm and Passion: convenience. It's a given that many of the folks who attend our churches won't come to a weekday service. The Passion story is very important and needs to be heard. So, let's make it easy and mash it up with another service. Never mind that these were two very distinct events.

What message are we sending about discipleship when we continue to make things easier and convenient? Maybe as pastors we need to do a better job educating the congregation. Perhaps we can find ways to make these special services more meaningful. And, as worshippers, is it too much to ask that one week a year our faith becomes a priority? It's called Holy Week for a reason.

Here is an alternative for you. If we are going to put everything on Sundays, I would back things up a week. Celebrate Palm Sunday two weeks prior to Easter. The Sunday before: the Passion story. What about Maundy Thursday you ask? The primary focus of this service is the last supper and communion. In most United Methodist churches, communion is celebrated monthly and we tell the story each time.

Maybe I'm wrong. But this is how I feel about it. Now, I've got to get back to work on the upcoming Holy Week services, starting with Palm Sunday this weekend.


1 comment:

Unlikely said...

This having a palm Sunday and an passion Sunday a week later seems like an interesting alternative.

Growing up as Catholic and now serving as a Lutheran I can say that I've been sold on the power of the two stories being told in the same day. I think that there's a clear dialectical tension in these two stories that emphasises who we are; both the ones who celebrate when Jesus comes and the very same ones who will cry out "crucify".
peace to you