Passion/Palm Sunday

Liturgical Color: Purple


This service embodies the sharp contrasts of holy week. In the encounter with the palms we experience the joys demonstration of loyalty to Jesus as he enters Jerusalem, including festive Palm Sunday music. And the proclamation and response we confront and respond to the story of Jesus’ passion, including somber Passion Sunday music.

It is important not to let the celebration of Palm Sunday crowd out the observance of Passion Sunday. Passion narratives in Scripture are highly unified and dramatic, and we need to experience the story and its wholeness before we reflect a greater length on its various parts during the following week days. Going directly from the lesser joy of the entry into Jerusalem to the joy of Easter, without being addressed by the passion and the cross of our Lord, misrepresents the gospel. There is no triumph without suffering, no crown without a cross.

Because so much of significance is in the service, and because this day and all of holy week or preliminary to the supreme joy of Easter, this day is unsuitable for celebrating baptism, confirmation, or the reception of new members. Baptisms and confirmations at this time of year most appropriately held during the Easter season, the Great Fifty Days from the Easter Vigil through the Day of Pentecost.

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