Palm Sunday by Bob Wickizer

Palm Sunday
Bob Wickizer
Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 14:1-15:47

It was disgusting ''...what evil has he done?''

I sometimes refer to Palm Sunday as ''schizophrenic Sunday.'' We enter Jerusalem triumphantly with Jesus our king. We end the day with our king mocked, scourged and brutally crucified. The emotional difference between the two events disorients us. Some people will miss attending services on Good Friday so Palm Sunday serves double duty as the crucifixion bridge between Lent and Easter.

Sometimes we want to skip right through the ugly details of Good Friday and get onto the important part of the story - the resurrection. Our desire to keep Palm Sunday upbeat and ignore the brutal part of it was demonstrated years ago at my home parish in California.

That Episcopal parish had a tradition of not just a Palm Sunday passion narrative, but a dramatic enactment with memorized lines, costumes, rehearsals, the works. One year the person playing the part of Jesus came down with laryngitis and was unable to take his role on Sunday. The night before the leader of the cast called a friend of mine who was an English teacher. My friend accepted the role but said he could not possibly memorize the lines overnight. He offered to do the part using only dramatic gestures. Next they arranged for a member of the choir to read Jesus' lines into a microphone. The arrangement worked beautifully.

My friend really missed his calling. He should have been an actor. His simple gestures and body language made the spoken lines come to life. There was not a dry eye in the church that day. Of course the Palm Sunday passion ends the same every year. Jesus is on the cross in agony, the veil of the Temple is torn and the centurion testifies that surely this was the Son of God.

My friend has a precocious son who was eight at the time. His son was int ...

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