Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday — the last Sunday in Lent


This day begins the great week of the Christian year, sometimes called Holy Week. With Christians throughout the world, we come together this week to remember and celebrate the Ester mystery in word and action: our Lord's Passover from death to life.

The crowd cheered him as Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph. Soon he was to complete his work as Messiah: to suffer, to die and to rise to new life. Today we commit ourselves to walk the way of the cross, so that, sharing his sufferings, we may be united with him in his risen life.

There is a procession around the church to commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Small palm crosses are blessed and distributed.

"God our Saviour, whose Son Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem as Messiah to suffer and to die, let these branches and palm crosses be for us signs of his victory; may we who carry them in his name ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life."

During the communion services, we read in full the passion narrative from one of the Gospels—the story of Jesus' betrayal, arrest, trial and crucifixion.

Image: Christ's Entry into Jerusalem (1945)
from an exhibition "The Passion of Christ" by Romare Bearden.

Possibly the greatest of all musical settings of the passion are Bach's St John Passion and his St Matthew Passion. This is "Herr, unser Herrscher, dessen Ruhm" the first chorus from the St John Passion (BWV 245) by J. S. Bach, sung by the Bach Collegium Japan, directed by Masaaki Suzuki.

Lord, our ruler, whose glory is magnificent everywhere!
Show us through your passion, that you, the true son of God,
at all times even in the most lowly state, are glorified.


Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday, 2012

We began, as always, by gathering in the courtyard.

Palm Sunday 2012 - gathering

Let the women sing,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Let the men sing,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Let the children sing,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Let all the people proclaim,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Rebecca blessed the palms and palm crosses, while the children admired the palms — which were actually eucalyptus fronds.

Palm Sunday 2012 - blessing

And then the procession began . . . around the church, the children leading with the palms . . .

Palm Sunday 2012 - procession

. . . and the rest of us following on, up to and through the front door.

Palm Sunday 2012 - entry

As we walked in procession, we sang this acclamation, especially written by Colin.

Palm Sunday 2012 Hosanna!

The eucalyptus palms were placed at the foot of the communion table, as we sang a hymn and prepared to share in the Liturgy of the Passion.

Palm Sunday 2012 - sanctuary