Attending the Palm Sunday service at my church this past Sunday reminded me again just how out-of-place the reading of the whole Passion Gospel seems at this service. Those who attend the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services do not need to hear the whole Passion Gospel read on Palm Sunday; they will hear it on Good Friday. I suspect that the seemingly redundant reading on the Sunday before Easter is simply for the benefit of worshippers who won’t be seen again in church until Easter morning.
In my latest essay in the Church Resources section of Lionel Deimel’s Farrago, I call the quick change of focus from the events of Palm Sunday in the Palm Sunday liturgy The Big Mistake. Not only does the reading of the Passion Gospel on Palm Sunday detract from the coherence of the drama of the Holy Week liturgies, it actually tends to discourage attendance at mid-week services by making them seem redundant.
I invite your reading my whole essay, “The Big Mistake.” As always, comments are welcome. (Click on the e-mail link in the footer of any page of Lionel Deimel’s Farrago.)