The Christian Century has an online editorial, authored by Karoline Lewis, titled Against Passion Sunday suggesting that we should celebrate Palm Sunday without the weight of the Passion Story appended to it.
I understand the practical reasons for the more recent liturgical emphasis on the day’s dual themes: most people won’t be coming back during the week, so they need to hear the crucifixion story now. The church needs to make sure that the story of Jesus’ death is given its due before acknowledging any reports of resurrection appearances.
But are such practical concerns rationale enough for downplaying the Palm Sunday experience of faith? What is Passion Sunday’s theological raison d’être? Should we really try to hold the palms and the passion together in a single service? Even between Good Friday and Easter Sunday we get a day to move between sorrow and joy, between suffering and glory, between death and life.
Aside from the issue put forth by the author that doing it this way “catches” people who wouldn’t otherwise be present for Holy Week services, is their a valid concern here? In some sense the story of the entrance into Jerusalem could be called “False Hope Sunday.” But how else do we make that clear if we set aside the story of the Passion? Is it possible, we would lose something dear, something important to understanding the central tenet of faith – the resurrection of Christ?
posted by Jon White