In the Lectionary

April 14, Palm Sunday C (Luke 19:28-40)

Part of me thinks Palm Sunday worship is all too much—too loud, too celebratory.

Read the author's column for the Liturgy of the Passion.

Our Gospel reading for Palm Sunday begins like an espionage novel. Jesus draws two of his followers aside. He gives them a mission. “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” The two disciples go and find the colt. The question is asked, and the password is given. The Lord needs it.

It’s an odd beginning to an odd story. There’s the suggestion of secrecy and premeditation. Arrangements are made and plans formulated, and in the end the transfer goes off without a hitch. It’s like a Cold War story of a Berlin Wall encounter in that fraught space between freedom and captivity.