Palm vs. Passion Sunday

Help me out here, folks.  When did Palm Sunday become Passion Sunday?  And why?  Reading the passion narrative on Palm/Passion Sunday just seems to mess with the integrity of the whole week. 

I’ll look into this on my own, but any insight from the faithful fragment who reads this blog would be most appreciated!


Published by Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. Veteran. Jedi. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.

8 thoughts on “Palm vs. Passion Sunday

  1. It has been quite some time. Look at the lectionary from SBH and LBW and you will see Passion themes. The reality is that as people have abandoned Holy Week services, we need Passion Sunday. I talk about how it frames the week, and actually prepares us for Easter. Far better to go into Easter having had a Passion Sunday than a “Palm Sunday”, no Holy Week, and Easter!

  2. The best I can tell you, not knowing all the Lutheran specifics, is that Passiontide was once a part of Lent that ran from Passion Sunday (the Sunday *before* Palm Sunday) into Holy Week. This season was removed during the reform of the calendar after Vatican II, and Palm Sunday took on the added bulk of being Passion Sunday.
    Earl is right that it is in the SBH, but it’s in the traditional position — after Laetare Sunday (the 4th Sunday in Lent) and before the Second Sunday of Passiontide (Palm Sunday). It does not fall on the same day as Palm Sunday.
    The Passion narrative in the lectionary for Palm Sunday has probably been there for over a thousand years — it was in the traditional one year Roman lectionary, which was not much changed from early in the Western Church’s history.
    So Passion Sunday has nothing to do with skipping Holy Week services — but I would say we need more people going to Holy Week services, not a Sunday substitute for them. Tenebrae on Good Friday is one of my most vivid memories from church (LCMS) during childhood.

  3. What we do here at Salem and Belmont on Palm Sunday is for the first half of the service we focus on the Palm Sunday texts. After the Sermon the service takes a turn and we close with the reading of the Passion Story. This serves to prepare people for Holy Week and Easter.
    I don’t want this service, for people, to replace the Holy Week experience, but the fact of the matter is that is does. Some of my elderly members do not go out at night so for them – hearing the Passion story on Palm Sunday -really serves a purpose.

  4. On of the most moving Palm Sunday services I’ve attended was a slide show (pre-Power Point) that was put together by the art teacher, which had some of the classic depictions of the events of the week shown during the readings, which were done by some of the better readers. Word and pictures really brings the story alive.
    I’m personally grateful that during the Wednesday night Lenten services in my home church, way back when, the pastor showed movies about the Passion. These images have meant a lot to me through the years.

  5. Last year on internship the Palm Sunday service began with an ecumenical commuity blessing of the palms, then each congregation processed to their house of worship. Following the parade, the pastor decided to have a Palm Sunday service without the reading of the Passion narrative.
    Because of this, the majority of the folks in worship on Palm Sunday did not hear the Passion of Christ before they gathered the following Sunday for Easter.
    I’m with Eric, Fr. Chris and Earl on this one. We need to celebrate Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, but we are also obligated to remind our parishioners of Christ’s Passion and the events of the cross.

  6. All true but having to write a sermon where some will be there for the Triduum and others will be only back for Easter and many of us grew up with the “Palm” focus, is a challenge to bridge. In my teaching parish, I am preaching and we are doing the passion reading and we are doing the palm procession.

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