March 29, 2015
Mark 14:1--15:47
Philippians 2:5-11
Isaiah 50:4-9a


The well-traveled path of suffering
Passion Sunday

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Frank Ramirez
There is an exquisite tension on Palm Sunday, which is also known as Passion Sunday. It’s the high point of the lectionary year: Jesus is acclaimed as he enters Jerusalem. It’s also the low point of the lectionary year: Jesus is betrayed, condemned, and executed. In some ways we try to celebrate both -- some churches involving children who carry in the palms, while also displaying more prominently the cross or swathing church decorations in purple or black.

As I write this there have been some high-profile incidents in which Christians have been martyred for their faith on a wholesale basis. Because our collective memories are short, people need to be reminded that this is nothing new. Christians have been martyred for their faith from the beginning. If you are not familiar with The Martyrdom of Polycarp, the story of the seven brothers and their mothers in 2 Maccabees 7, or books like The Martyr’s Mirror (or if your congregation is not familiar with these), it might be well to incorporate a few stories at the least. Your denomination or congregation may have a special connection to suffering people in the past or present (for instance, the young women abducted in Nigeria by Boko Haram were almost all members of my denomination), and Holy Week is an appropriate time to remember these. Little purpose is served by demonizing their murderers. Christian history would show that most martyred Christians have been murdered by fellow Christians. The point is that the road of self-sacrificial love pioneered by Jesus has been well trod in all ages, including our own. The Isaiah passage assures us that God sees and hears what we have endured. The Christ hymn in Philippians invites us to willingly take on the form of a slave, as Jesus did. And the evangelist draws us in to the center of a world of suffering, only to begin to show us the way out toward vindication and hope.

I intend to focus on the Passion Sunday scriptures, but if you are intending on focusing on the Palms, you can certainly find resources on this website to that end....

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This Week
March 29, 2015
Palm/Passion Sunday
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Looking Ahead
April 2, 2015
Maundy Thursday
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April 3, 2015
Good Friday
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Recent Installments
March 22, 2015
Lent 5
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March 15, 2015
Lent 4
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February 22, 2015
Lent 1
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February 18, 2015
Ash Wednesday
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