In the Lectionary

March 28, Palm Sunday B (Mark 11:1-11)

Palm Sunday makes me cringe.

Read Pershey’s column for the Liturgy of the Passion.

Palm Sunday is, for me, a complicated affair. I was baptized as an infant on Palm Sunday, and each year I remember this with wonderment and gratitude. As a kid raised in church, I have vivid memories of stomping around the sanctuary waving my palm with impressive fervor. When I was a student pastor in California, my mentor hacked massive branches from the palm trees adorning the campus and filled the chancel with the fresh greens.

In recent years, my local ministerial association has embraced Palm Sunday as an opportunity for ecumenical convocation; the variously vested clergy and a handful of hardy layfolk gather early on the village green to bless our palms. I always ask a colleague to swap a tidily folded palm cross for one of our traditional green fronds, the way kids at summer camp trade friendship bracelets. When they were small, my daughters replicated my childhood memories, parading into the sanctuary with the children’s choir.