Week 6 An Invitation to Walk with Christ
Sixth Sunday in Lent
Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Luke 19:28-40
Liturgy of the Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49
“The whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”—Luke 19:37-38
Holy Week, which starts with Palm Sunday, begins with a bizarre juxtaposition of two kinds of passion. In the early part of the week we witness the passion of a hyped-up crowd screaming their affirmation that Jesus is king as he rides humbly into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. Later in the week we witness Jesus’ own passion (suffering) as he walks resolutely into the final stages of God’s plan for our redemption.
Many churches that follow the lectionary live both passions on the sixth Sunday of Lent—they stage a processional with palm branches early in the service (Liturgy of the Palms) and then read the Liturgy of the Passion in its entirety later on in the service.
In the church where I worship, the whole congregation participates in the Liturgy of the Passion by reading the parts spoken by the fickle crowd. It is very sobering to move from crying out in loud voices “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” to shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” It is a true beginning to the intense and conflicting emotions of this week in which we seek ways to walk with Christ and participate in his passion.
So let us pray together as we enter this Holy Week . . .
Almighty God, whose most dear Son
went not up to joy
but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
Mercifully grant that we,
walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
©Ruth Haley Barton, 2013. Not to be used without permission. Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer
Ruth is founder of the Transforming Center, and author of Pursuing God’s Will Together, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Sacred Rhythms, and Invitation to Solitude and Silence (InterVarsity Press).
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