One other thing that has happened in recent years is combining Palm Sunday with the Passion. So last Sunday I sat in church and participated in the Gospel for the week. A few of the things I pondered.
- At the start was the parade. All glory laud and honor to thee redeemer King. The service started in the parish hall with the Palm Sunday reading. The brass accompanied the hymn as the congregation moved (processed, paraded) into the sanctuary, led by the cross, where the Cross above the altar was covered in red. We were not just observers, we were there, singing praise and honor.
- Then for the Gospel we heard a narrative reading of the Passion story. Voices called out to free Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus. A stark reminder. Again, we were not just observers, we were there, standing helplessly by as the story unfolded.
- There was no sermon. None was needed; none was called for. The Gospel said it all and the only thing left for us was to think on those things, pondering and keeping them in our hearts for the week ahead. I know that the response in many a Protestant church would have been dissatisfaction that the preacher didn't preach. But there is not much to say at that point. Nothing to do but pray. We were not just observers, we needed to be there.
- Then we came to the table. Bread of heaven, cup of salvation. The reality of the Passion incarnate. We are not observers, we are there. No, He is here.
- As the postlude played us into the world I remembered that this year is 50 years that I have been a Christian. It is 40 years as an ordained clergy. It is another Palm Sunday. Another Passion week. I realized I have even less understanding of what all this means than I did 10 years ago let alone 40 or 50 years. I have no idea about the meaning, no logical, reasonable explanation for this Passion Week.
in my faith and life.
After all, I am not just an observer.
He is here.
So am I.