Traditionally, on the Sunday before Easter, Christians would recognize the parade of Jesus entering Jerusalem. Then, throughout Holy Week, Christians would worship on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, culminating in the resurrection story on Easter Sunday. Worship practices have changed, and most Christians do not participate in the Passion of Christ narrative on Good Friday.
Due to this change, many churches created a Palm/Passion Sunday before Easter in which both the parade into Jerusalem and the passion narrative of Jesus are recognized. The Palm/Passion Sunday strives to create a worship service around two major events. This style of worship service has challenged the worship attendee with a condensed experience of Jesus’ parade into Jerusalem, and then a condensed story of his passion.
As your pastor, I am trying to create a deep faith journey as we navigate the life and death of Christ. As Lutherans we believe in death and resurrection, and if we don’t understand and appreciate Christ’s death, can we in turn appreciate the resurrection? As Christians, we wear the cross of Christ, which is a symbol of death, yet the majority of Christians do not attend the service that focuses on his death.
Offering a Palm/Passion Sunday seems to water down these major events in the life of Christ. This year we are going to offer a different faith experience. This year we will separate Palm Sunday and the Passion Narrative to their own Sunday worship services. This means that Palm Sunday will be two weeks before Easter, and Passion Sunday will be the Sunday before Easter. This will allow the worship attendee to experience these events of Jesus with great depth. On Palm Sunday we will focus on Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and on Passion Sunday we will read the Passion Narrative. We will continue to offer all Holy Week worship services.