Embracing the awkwardness: A sample homily for Palm/Passion Sunday

This sample homily is tied to the liturgy found here. Together, they form a complete Palm/Passion Sunday worship experience. 

The Passion of God

A sermon given by The Reverend C. Greg Moore

Luke's Passion

Palm/Passion Sunday, Year C

Even if you aren’t a regular at church, you can tell that everything is all mixed up today.

We gathered outside.

Somebody handed us a bulletin and a branch and told us to get in line.

We all processed in, together, instead of just the pastor and the normal procession.

Even now, the sermon seems to be coming before the scripture reading.

This is not a normal Sunday.

And so I should state up front that this is not the sermon today. This is just a brief homiletical preface. And I am not the preacher today. Saint Luke has the pulpit this morning.

What we are about to hear is Luke’s memory of the Passion of Christ. You are likely to find pieces of yourself as you listen to the sermon today. The people in this story are our ancestors, both in being and in faith. They preceded us in anger, doubt, cheating, despair and dismay. They went before us in hope and struggle for love and peace and joy. Like the stories of our ancestors, our stories are rooted in theirs.

Listen for pieces of yourself as you hear the story told today. Look deep into this family portrait, and find the resemblances that you bear even today. As with any family story from the past, it ultimately becomes a story embodied in the present.

This is not just a story about us, though. It is primarily a story about God. It is called the Passion of Christ because this story, perhaps like no other, puts God’s heart on display. This is the story of God determined to get what God wants, us, no matter what. This is a story of what God is passionate about. This is the Passion of Christ.

Theologians and saints and the church mothers and fathers tell us that this story is the heart song of God. The sacrificial love that takes flesh in Jesus is the very rhythm that God’s heart, God’s passion, beats to. This story is God’s love song to us. And so, this story is better sung than said. That’s why the angels are always singing. That’s why the church is full of song. This is the story that is central to who God is, and becomes central to who God’s people are. Here, in this story, we hear the mellifluous sound of God’s passion.

So, we are going to sing our way through this story. Pastor Luke will pause throughout his sermon, to allow us to sing and savor the depth of his sermon.

Today is the beginning of Holy Week. For those who dare to journey this week with Jesus, this is the week that our humanity and God’s divinity come clashing together in events that still mark the body of Christ.

This week will be marked with sacred meals and sharp nails; a silent Saturday filled with fear and an early Sunday exploding with hope. This is the week that we will watch ourselves do our worst to God discover that our worst is no match for God’s best.

It all begins today, with the sermon from Saint Luke, as he tells us again of the Passion of Christ.

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