Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday?

I remember Palm Sunday as a child growing up in the Methodist Church to have been a sort of mini-Easter. In my Unitarian and Religious Science days it was pretty much ignored. In my Lutheran and once and future Episcopal experience it is, of course, Palm/Passion Sunday.

Last year Karoline Lewis wrote in favor of Palm Sunday standing on its own. She said:

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 she concludes that there is reason to observe Palm Sunday on its own:

Palm Sunday can give us language to express “God with us.” The crowd gets it: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” The one at the center of this parade of palms is none other than Immanuel. Hosanna indeed.

I was a bad kid last year. Not only did I not make it to any of the Triduum services, I didn’t make it to Palm/Passion Sunday at St. John’s. At least during my Lutheran years I generally got to Maundy Thursday service, and most years to the community noon Good Friday service as well.

This year I expect to be there for Palm/Passion Sunday, but I don’t know about the Triduum. So, I suppose that I’m one of those people for whom the hybrid service was designed.

Karoline’s comments are well-taken indeed, but it just may be that a pure Palm Sunday service is yet another casualty of our busy, hectic, frenetic world.

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