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March 25, 2010

Sunday of the Passion

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

This morning, I was reading the “Manual on the Liturgy” published for the Lutheran Book of Worship (OK, I know — it is not an LCMS approved hymnal; but their liturgy manual is first class), specifically the portion of the book dealing with the Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday. They describe the divine service in two parts:

1. The procession of the palms that opens the worship service, and

2. The Holy Communion rite.

I have always been impressed with this manual’s detailed focus on the specific movements of every church service. They give the “whats” but also the “whys.” As a pastor, I am always asked why we do what we do in church. This manual has been a chief source of the answers I present.

As is tradition, this Palm Sunday we will read the Passion of Jesus Christ, this year from Saint Luke’s Gospel. Readers will help out with this process. In the manual, they explain:

“The proclamation of the Passion must always be carefully prepared and rehearsed so that it is done with dignity and solemnity. It is more than a reading; it is a presentation of the drama of salvation.”

That is a powerful reminder of not only the Passion story itself, but also a wonderful description of Holy Week in its entirety. It is a solemn week. Our worship services are conducted with a higher level of dignity and love than the rest of the year simply because as we walk these final steps in Lent, our hearts and eyes look to the cross of Jesus Christ from whence our salvation was won.

Read more from Holy Week, Saint Matthew's

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