Sunday, March 29, 2015
From Palms and Hosannas to Crucify Him. . .
Some complain that the reading of the Passion overshadows the rest of the week and renders the individual stories of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday superfluous. I disagree. We do have palms and hosannas -- where they belong in the great procession that enters Holy Week by following Jesus through the crowds to the cross. We do pay attention to the grand welcome in which the Savior came to His appointed destiny humble and mounted on a donkey. But we do this in the context of the larger outcome. Jesus did NOT come for the crowds or the accolades or the welcome. He came for the cross. In the past the palms gave us a glory moment which was not Jesus' primary glory. He came for the glory of the cross.
Yes, I agree. It is cumbersome to read the whole Passion story in one fell swoop. It is long. It taxes the skill of the reader and the listener. But such is the weight of these words that we at least once in Holy Week hear it all -- from beginning to end -- before we explore the smaller stories inside the big one. Yes, it does kill the surprise ending but the Church and those who have gathered to celebrate the day already know the surprise ending -- we know He dies and we know He rises again. This is exactly why we come. To hear it all again -- the old story retold again, not for dramatic effect, but because this IS the Gospel.
So sing All Glory, Laud, and Honor and wave the palms and shout the hosannas. But make sure that on this Sunday everyone knows where this goes -- to the cross. And don't forget to sing one of the great Lenten chorales (O Sacred Head, A Lamb Alone Goes Willingly, etc.) or one of my personal favorites, No Tramp of Soldier's Marching Feet.