Palms Passions & my Pet Peeve

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One of my pet peeves is Palm/Passion Sunday!  I just don’t like it.

My first reason for despising Palm/Passion Sunday is that I absolutely love Palm Sunday!  Who doesn’t like a parade, right?   And who doesn’t like a parade with a donkey, children, and palm branches waving high?!   I mean you’ve got movement, drama, and animals all in one event…GOLD MINE!  

My second reason for struggling with Palm/Passion Sunday is that it’s one of those things we do because “the congregations don’t have time to come back to church on a Friday”.   It’s a way our culture accommodates the “masses” in order to get more folks “into” our religion.  We see folks come on Palm Sunday and on Easter and we say, “But they are missing Good Friday, the cross!”  And so, we “give up” on convincing them to come on Friday and try this weird hybrid that steals the joy and the sorrow from both!  

No! No! No! Palm Sunday is meant to be a celebration!  Don’t ruin it by trying to end it with sorrow!  And Good Friday is meant to be a “celebration” and “lament” of the suffering of Jesus.  Don’t ruin that by trying an “abridged” version that starts with palms and Hosannas!   Let Palm Sunday be Palm Sunday and let Good Friday be Good Friday!

Speaking of Good Friday, as your pastor, I want you to know how excited I am about this year’s Good Friday worship experience.  I have been working for years to bring about an idea I first heard from Bishop John Shelby Spong (I first encountered him in seminary when I read “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism”, an awesome read).   His idea was that instead of making Good Friday about the darkness of humankind, that we should celebrate it as a beautiful life totally poured out for others in suffering love.   All the way to the cross Jesus just keeps giving and giving and giving…even on the cross.  This night is a celebration of a life lived well.  Let Jesus’ life and death inspire!

And so, as we go through a “revised” Stations of the Cross worship service, we won’t just focus on humanity’s darkness, but also lift up a life lived well…a life poured out for others in Jesus, the Christ.  Seriously, you are not going to want to miss this!  The choir and the bell choir are sharing incredible numbers. The service is designed to be interactive, dramatic, and inspiring.  We are meeting at 6:30, and we encourage all to attend! Starting with the Lord’s Supper and moving through the cross, come and see this beautiful life poured out for all.   Plan to invite guests!

And so, 3 great events, not abridged, but in all their glory:  Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter! I can’t wait!  

PS: Remember that this Sunday, Palm Sunday, we meet for a parade outside the church at 9:45.  Children and families are encouraged to bring bikes and wagons a bit earlier.  We have some items to help you decorate for the parade!

PSS: For those wondering about Easter: we will have two services.  An early “Sunrise” service in the sanctuary at 7:30 a.m. where we will celebrate the new “Easter” morning breaking, and then an all-out Easter Praise and Celebration service at 10!  

Your friend and pastor, preparing to march, weep (in adoration of a beautiful life), and rise with each of you, Brook

Tim Schaaf