Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday — the last Sunday in Lent


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


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.

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.