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Palm Sunday Drama
April 9; 7:45am, 9am, and 11am

Sunday of the Passion of Jesus Christ – Palm Sunday

April 9, 2017 Second Major Sunday at Bethel
Year of “Evaluation, Celebration, Innovation”

Palm Sunday 2017 at Bethel will be a rich worship experience for all who come to begin the Holy Week Walk with Jesus toward his death and resurrection. Our worship will offer the same format at all four week-end services. Each of the four worship opportunities will be held in the sanctuary. Our worship format will be interactive, that is, a conversational service with the voices of designated leaders and all the members of the worshipping congregation. The text for the day is the Passion Story from the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Entitled “Cry of the Whole Congregation”, this worship design is authored by Rev. Walter Wangerin Jr., author of many novels and books of essays. Wangerin is an ELCA pastor and a senior research professor (walterwangerinjr.org) at Valparaiso University, Indiana.

Cry of the Whole Congregation” encapsulates the whole of the Holy Week events up to the death of Jesus on Golgotha. The purpose of the drama is to allow each worshipper suddenly to discover (pitifully, intensely, and truly to discover) his/her own rootedness in the drama which is Christ’s – so that the Passion Story may no longer be mere story for observance, analysis, learning or history; but rather so that it may embrace you the worshipper… name you, and become your story indeed. It then shapes your being.

In this worship experience, you are likely to see and feel God present for you now…. in a new way. All your senses are enlisted: sight, sound, the rhythm of both – music and motion – and you’ll know the feel of your voice in your throat, in your emotion, and in your breast. This engaging worship drama has no audience. All are actors. No one is objective. All of us are subjective – or else we are the objects of the driving love of God. I am reminded of a comment to me years ago by a Jewish friend. He said, “In Israel, we have no National Theater because our daily life gives us our living drama.” In a sense, “Cry of the Whole Congregation” offers that living drama to us as we participate in the multiple voices of the crowd. Each service will include an opportunity for children and adults to process in song with palm branch in hand and to adorn the standing cross with palm greenery.

Service leaders include a narrator, and Passion Story figures Simon Peter, Judas Iscariot, and Pontius Pilate. The service also includes a drummer and a liturgical dancer whose role is to communicate the emotions of our suffering and dying Lord Jesus. The service also includes Holy Communion, choral anthems, solo vocal, prayers, offering and congregational hymn singing.

Plan now to participate in one of these Palm Sunday worship events. Conclude your Lenten walk by joining the remembrance of the cheering crowd along the dusty route down the hill, through the Kidron Valley, along the Via Dolorosa, and up to Calvary’s Hill. Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!

Paul N Svingen, Interim Senior Pastor

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