This Sunday, pastors and worship planners alike have to make a decision whether worship will be Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday. Sometimes, they don't decide at all---and do both. The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday---Jesus rides triumphantly into town. On a donkey (remember the other ride he had on a donkey...in the womb?). Folks are so excited and honored by his presence, they grab whatever is available and create a bit of a party. They break off tree branches and lay their coats down. Makeshift party favors. It reminds me of watching the neighborhood pack of kids play---using rocks, mud, leaves and grass to enhance the world they are creating.
It's a party-like atmosphere---shouts of "Hosanna!" "Glory to God in the Highest!" As good Minnesotans, we have no trouble sensing that in the midst of our celebrating, the other shoe is about to drop. It's short-lived joy. Because the same folks who shout "Hosanna!" are the ones who shout, "Crucify him!" (The bugger is "the same folks" refers to us. You. Me. That pleasant guy sitting next to you. And his aunt.).
Here is where Passion Sunday comes in. Many congregations choose to also read the Passion narrative (Jesus' trial, suffering, death) after waving palm branches. The assumption is that people won't show up for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday worship. So you end up with, "Hosanna!" and then "Christ is risen!" Which, quite frankly, is cheap. The whole Gospel's melody line culminates with Christ's words, "It is finished."
Humble Walk will stick with Palm Sunday--knowing we have Maundy Thursday's Too Much Love meal. And then we invite you to read the Passion story for yourself or find another congregation to worship with on Good Friday (I'll send some suggestions). We may be frugal, but we aren't cheap.
Dress for the weather on Sunday. HW will spend the first part of worship cleaning up our bus stop corner. Sweeping, picking up garbage, sprucing...preparing this corner of the world for Christ to ride on in.