Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Palm Sunday 2011, Again

A discussion has been ongoing today on the Houses of Bishops and Deputies e-mail list regarding the Passion reading on Palm Sunday. It appears that St. Paul’s was not the only parish to write the congregation out of the reading. (See my last post, “Palm Sunday 2011.”) I am not the only person upset with churches doing that. I don’t think the omission is widespread, and is likely, in most cases, the result of the switch from the Book of Common Pray lectionary to the Revised Common Lectionary. Publishers of bulletin inserts have had to reset their Passion readings and may have made some bad decisions in the process. (Clearly, this was not the source of the change at St. Paul’s, since we had no inserts.)

In any case, one person on the list pointed out these instructions for Palm Sunday on page 273 of the prayer book:
The Passion Gospel may be read or chanted by lay persons. Specific roles may be assigned to different persons, the congregation taking the part of the crowd.

The congregation may be seated for the first part of the Passion. At the verse which mentions the arrival at Golgotha (Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, Luke 23:33) all stand.
Of course, I should point out that “may” occurs three times in these instructions; the suggestions are clearly only suggestions.

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