a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Looking Ahead: Palm Sunday

Alright friends, here we go!!! It’s time to work toward Sunday…Palm Sunday! Are you reading Mark’s sparse yet thrilling Entry Into Jerusalem? Are you focusing perhaps on the psalm instead, for a new twist on Palm Sunday? Are you heading for the passion story? Or something else entirely?

Let’s heat this discussion up (even as the weather cools down for many of us!). Drop your words, phrases, seeds, sparks, ideas, hopes, and dreams for a creative Palm Sunday into the comments, and let’s create together!




Just two weeks to go until we wave our palm branches and shout Hosanna! What are you thinking about this year? What hymns, images, or words are sparking your imagination? Will you stick with palms, move the service from palms to passion, or go passion all the way?

How will you set up Holy Week this year? Share your ideas, be they one word, one phrase, one image, a feeling, or anything else (half-formed, unformed, or fully formed) and let’s create together!

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  1. GIven that Palm Sunday is April 1 my working title for the sermon is “A Fool’s Errand”. That is about all I have thus far….

  2. For the sermon, I am planning on using the dramatic reading “Stages on the Way” from the Iona book of the same name. It lifts up so many of the themes of a Lenten journey that we see elsewhere in the season, and it frees me from writing another sermon entering into a busy week! I also like the fact that we will emerge with a constructed item at the end of the reading that can be used elsewhere during Holy Week.

    I’m also hopeful that we’ll be able to do a palm processional. If the weather is decent enough and not rainy, all who are able have processed into the church for the past several years. I don’t dare call it a tradition yet – it is mostly my energy that makes it happen – but it is starting to be a nice touch for a congregation that doesn’t usually move around much.

    • Kate Rascoe says

      Thanks, Andy, for reminding me of a resource I already have!!

      My little church has two buildings that are not connected, so we start palm Sunday in the fellowship hall, and will parade together into the sanctuary. Our sound system allows me to still keep the less-mobile members included in the liturgy, and we sing a simple refrain that can be repeated for as long as it takes…

      This year, we will make the transition from palm to passion more obvious by switching a banner mid-service (from a gold cross to a black one).

  3. Teri Peterson says

    We are doing a “which parade are you in?” theme–with the choice between empire and kingdom of god. one side of the sanctuary will be decorated in empire stuff, the other in palms. we’ll have big heavy organ music for the empire, and unaccompanied singing for the kingdom (we hope). We’re using two video clips–one from the movie Alexander, where Alexander the Great rides into Babylon in a huge military procession; the other from Pasolini’s film The Gospel According to St. Matthew, a film in black and white and where all the actors are Italian peasants and the only words spoken are what’s written in the gospel.

    I have no idea how to write liturgy for this day…but would love suggestions!

  4. We will meld the Palms and Passion this day. Open with the Palms part of the story, and then read all of the Mark Passion, with communion, prayers, hymns, special music and a Readers’ Theater of voices from folks one encounters during Holy Week as described by Matthew.

  5. For the broader record, MaryAnn McKibben Dana has offered a wonderful response to this post on her blog:


  6. We have been talking about atonement theory all Lent — and are ending this journey through Lent with a telling of most of the Passion Story. It’s a liturgy I actually wrote for the UCC Worship Ways. (Don’t you love when you actually get to use some of these things in the church you serve?) It approaches the story in a lesson and carol sorta way but there is much more room for silence which I hope makes room to digest the story. You can find the whole liturgy here: http://www.ucc.org/worship/worship-ways/. And Teri, the opening prayers *might* work for you.

    • Thanks for this, Elsa. It’s lovely. I especially appreciate the beautiful communion prayer. (Makes me sad that we are not celebrating the Lord’s Supper this week.)

  7. scottpcusa says

    We’ve been working through a Lenten Sermon Series on the Great Ends of the Church and concluding with the “Exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the World”. The fact that this final “end” (haha…final end) is on Palm Sunday. Has my brain working trying to find a way to tie the palms and procession together into some sort of outside the ordinary holding of the palms while we sing “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” ritual. Half of our pews are gone because we are having new hardwood installed in the sanctuary, so I’m working on finding a way to use that space. Brain still processing…

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