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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday confusion

Palm SundayIf someone can interpret the above, from the NZ Lectionary differently, please let me know. To me, I can only read it to mean that if there is no procession with palms then Mark 11:1-11 (or John 12:12-16) and Ps 118:1-2,19-29 can replace Isa 50:4-9a and Ps 31:9-16. That’s what it means, isn’t it?

So, in the Anglican Church of Or, where liturgical training, study, and formation is at an all time low, the Lectionary appears to indicate that it is possible to celebrate the Eucharist here on Palm Sunday with the following readings:

Mark 11:1-11 (or John 12:12-16)
Ps 118:1-2,19-29
Phil 2:5-11
Mark 14:1 – 15:47 or Mark 15:1-39, (40-47)

ie. gospel reading; psalm; epistle; gospel reading.

This is not only ridiculous but there is, of course, no warrant for this in the binding formularies of our church (the agreements on worship we actually have). But as I have been indicating, the Lectionary appears to ignore those agreements.

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is a formulary of our church. It says quite clearly

Those who do not observe the procession with palms and do not wish to use the passion gospel may substitute the gospel and psalm given for the Liturgy of the Passion with the gospel and psalm for the Liturgy of the Palms. Whenever possible, the whole passion narrative should be read.

ie. if you are not having the procession with palms you may replace Mark 14:1 – 15:47 [or Mark 15:1-39,(40-47)] and Ps 31:9-16 so that you would end up with

Isa 50:4-9a
Ps 118:1-2,19-29
Phil 2:5-11
Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16

For the love of liturgy please once again ignore the nonsense in the NZ Lectionary. Please follow the guidance provided here for Palm Sunday.

With these sort of entries in the NZ Lectionary there are two possible reactions: you can cry – or you can tag this as “humour”.

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7 thoughts on “Palm Sunday confusion”

  1. One day, Bosco, I would like to be able to say that I am as learned as you 🙂 but on this occasion, i.e. when I checked out the readings a few days ago in preparation for this coming Sunday, I was definitely just as confused as you!

  2. Dear Bosco,
    On the Maundy Thursday Part of the Lectionary, on the left hand column where it lists the colours for the day, it says “R” then “W”, and then underneath that it says “[HC]”. What does HC mean? It doesn’t appear anywhere else in the whole lectionary (I used ‘find in this document!’). I’m guessing Holy Communion but that’s not a liturgical colour…


    1. Thanks so much, Lucy, for pointing this out. I cannot find an explanation for the abbreviation “HC” in the Lectionary. I searched online – it is an abbreviation for “Hair Colour”. Anglican Hair Colour is white. Remember, as the Lectionary says at the start, this is “not mandatory but reflects common practice in most parishes”. So I think that makes sense. Blessings.

  3. Coming to this very late, but on Maundy Thursday the colour for Holy Communion (HC) is white, but the colour for the office (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, whatever else your particular corner of the church offers) is red (or, of course there’s an or, purple depending on your tradition – Sarum red, Tridentine purple). So what was supplied in the lectionary was an adequate reminder if you know that, but unintelligible if you don’t.

    Is that good enough? Well, such things *ought* to be part of clergy formation, but (a) they may well not be – here in England I would expect some of the theological colleges to cover it, but others not; (b) for the most part it isn’t the clergy who will be responsible for changing altar frontals and other hangings, possibly for laying vestments out before services too. I don’t think we can or should expect everyone getting involved in such things to have that level of knowledge before starting.

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