A Liturgical Controversy
There is a liturgical controversy regarding Palm Sunday. And, for once, it isn’t just for liturgy wonks.
Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the people threw palms on the road Jesus traveled into the city as a sign of honor. But the Palm Sunday liturgy and the lessons rather quickly skip over the Triumphal and move on to the drama of Jesus’ passion and death.
This is done as a concession to fact that many folks do not participate in the full drama of Holy Week, so we compress all of Holy Week into this one service so that we will be ready for Easter the following Sunday.
But if we are to grasp the meaning and fullness of Holy Week, we need to walk the full path. These things take time. The Triumphal Entry of Palm Sunday reminds us how easily we can get caught up in the emotions of the crowd and what we cheer today we can condemn tomorrow. But by skipping right to Good Friday, we miss the opportunity to dwell in that reality.
Let me encourage you to make Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday all a part of your Easter celebration. The joy of Easter will be all the richer if we have walked the full path of Holy Week.
This column appeared in the April 14, 2019 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
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