As my daughter said this morning “Palm Sunday has the best hymns”. I’ve left a goodly amount of them in the recording. But this morning’s service is also “Passion Sunday” and it contains a full reading of the Passion account from the Gospel of Mark. If you have never simply listened to it read aloud, here it is. The sermon is based on the first part of the that reading, the anointing of Jesus by a woman at Simon’s place. Jesus calls he actions a “beautiful work” and promises that is will be part of the gospel proclamation forever. The foil in this scene if Judas. The sermon examines the conflicts brought to the service between the woman’s beautiful act and Judas’ reaction. And then it meditates on how Jesus’ words “you will not always have me” might motivate our own beautiful works under the cross. It was a very good morning. Blessings on your Holy Week.
Biblical Text: Mark 14:1-11, Mark 14:53-65, Mark 15:1-15, Mark 15:25-37 Full Sermon Draft
The appointed texts for Palm Sunday have morphed into The Sunday of the Passion. The introduction to the passion story in Mark is the story of the woman who breaks an alabaster jar and anoints Jesus with perfume worth a year’s wages. This sermon uses that as the main text with the two trials of Jesus as the supporting texts. Its focus is upon the human fascination with Justice and what these trials have to tell us about our justice. The woman’s beautiful act or good work marks Jesus response to our calls and his alternative. We can always do justice. What we have we can do. But calls for justice miss the instruction of the passion of Jesus. The better path is mercy – sweet, pure and costly.
Musical Note: The season of Lent to me has the best Hymnody (which I know could just be because of the inherent drama), and it really ends on Palm Sunday which has a huge stable of great songs. All Glory, Laud and Honor and Ride on, Ride on in Majesty are two of them. What I left in the recording here is a modern hymn that is climbing my personal favorites – No Tramp of Soldiers Marching Feet (LSB 444). Many of the Palm Sunday Hymns reflect the irony of the triumphal entry being followed by the passion, but this hymn makes that its central theme. In the service it makes the perfect transition hymn from the festivity of the Palm Procession to the Passion Readings.