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Sixth Sunday in Lent: Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday

March 29, 2015

This is one of my favorite Sundays in our church year, as is Easter Sunday. Only in recent years has the church started putting emphasis on both the joy of Palm Sunday and the pain of Passion Sunday. I liked it better when it was just Palm Sunday.

I like the palms and the celebratory feel. Jesus is coming! Riding into town on a donkey with crowds greeting him with cheers and waving their palms. Lutherans are a bit stoic so I don’t know that we truly celebrate Palm Sunday with the level of joy it is due.

My favorite scene in the movie, Jesus Christ Superstar, is the Palm Sunday scene. The Hosanna song is glorious and for me expresses the joy we should all feel today.

Of course, just a few days later, the same crowd calls for Pontius Pilate to crucify Jesus. As we remember all this, our joy is mixed with grief. Thankfully, we know now that Jesus will rise from the dead and secure eternal life for us all.

One of the songs in Jesus Christ Superstar that Judas sings, put the question in my mind about what would happen in today’s world if Jesus came to us now. How would we react?

Mostly I think that since God is omniscient and all of this was God’s plan, we would do the same thing they did some 2,000 years ago. I want to believe that we would not be so hateful.

Who am I trying to kid? Collectively, we’re hateful every day in today’s world. For just as many illogical and emotional reasons as they were then.
God loves us anyway and was willing to sacrifice His son for us. Weak and hateful sinners that we are.

On this Palm and Passion Sunday, I offer the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, Lord I Lift Your Name on High. For me, it captures the joy of Palm Sunday and the reality of Passion Sunday, in a prayerful and joyful way.

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