Sermon for Palm Sunday, Year A

Sermon for Palm Sunday, Year A

    Apr 05, 2020

    Preacher: Tammy Breitbarth

    Series: Holy Week

    Category: Hope


    Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

    Year A, April 5, 2020

    In the name of the ALMIGHTY God—Father, Son & Holy Spirit!


    Good Morning. This certainly has been and continues to be a Lent to remember!


    Actually, many of my strong childhood memories encompass the Lenten & Easter seasons. 

    There were fish sticks for lunch at school every Friday, then more fish sticks for dinner at home that night. Occasionally, school would change things up & we would have fish sandwiches. At home, not so much.


    Besides meat, we were expected to give up other things as well. Most kids gave up gum & candy. But we didn’t have those at my house, so, every year, I usually tried to give up swearing. 


    As many of you know, I grew up in a large family with 8 brothers & sisters. Most of us coming just a year or less after the previous one. As a result, I was never very good at keeping my Lenten promise of not cussing. Somebody was always messing with me or my stuff…


    We were consistent church attenders, but not Episcopalians, raised instead in a different faith tradition. The memories burned into my youthful brain of the time sound like this—

    • Don’t be a betrayer like Judas.
    • Don’t lose your temper & cut off someone’s ear.
    • Don’t be a denier like Peter.
    • Don’t be a doubter like Thomas, which comes the Sunday after Easter.
    • DO be helpful like Simon of Cyrene.
    • And – your mother & God will BOTH be well-pleased if you wear a lacy dress that is unbearably scratchy & itchy, even though as an adult you learn that you actually ARE allergic to lace, but no one believed you then because they thought you had a bad attitude or just didn’t want to wear a dress!


    Strong memories indeed. 

    But youthful, & overly simplified memories.


    Just as strong; however, are the memories I have created with all of you here at St. Andrews. 


    For the past decade, I have joined you.

    We met every night of Holy Week. 

    We listened to a glorious choir.

    We washed each other’s feet.

    We sat silently and watched as the altar was stripped, the cross stood up, the crown of thorns placed on the altar, and the door slammed.


    We participated in the Way of the Cross, and the Solemn Collects.

    We gathered together for Saturday night Easter vigils, lighting candles and ringing in Jesus’ resurrection. One year, Don Paxton even lit his hair on fire for us!

    And on Easter Sunday we packed the church to rejoice together, once again shouting Alleluia to our risen King!

    Packing the Parish Hall afterwards, we ate and fellowshipped, while children made a mad dash for eggs on the lawn.


    What joyful memories!


    But this year. This year… It. Will. Be. Different!


    We will not gather together physically. We will not sit together. We will not eat in the Parish Hall. There will be no egg hunt on the lawn. And if Don lights his hair on fire again, we won’t be there to see it.


    Yes, it will be different. But, we will still be together in the most important way – our hearts connected!


    My dear sisters & brothers, I encourage you to grief the losses in this difference. All of them. Large and small. Our mental health professionals tell us it is important for us to do so. 


    Then…Then, help us create new memories by joining this St. Andrews family online as we move through this Lenten season where is seems that we have given up so much. Either willingly or because it has been thrust upon us. 


    And remember – we KNOW the ending to this story!

    We may not know when the health restrictions will be lifted. 

    But I am talking about the REAL story. 

    The Easter story. 

    The story of new life & resurrection!


    Let’s move through this Holy Week, together, online.

    Let us join the Deacons in Evening Prayer on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday. 

    Login to pray together and watch Mother Jo strip the altar on Thursday. 

    I have a feeling that it will be even more poignant this year than ever before.


    On Friday, gather online for the solemn collects.

    Then join in the glorious celebration of Jesus Christ Risen! 

    Resurrected from the dead, during Saturday’s Easter Vigil and Sunday’s Easter Eucharist.


    Many years ago, when I first came to St. Andrews, I wasn’t sure I really believed this Easter story.

    I wasn’t sure I believed in Jesus’ resurrection for my salvation.

    But then I met you, the people of the St. Andrews – the St. Andrews branch -- of the Episcopal branch -- of the Jesus Movement.

    I saw the love of Christ resurrected and reflected in you as you shared that love with me. 

    You showed me Jesus Christ Risen.

    And not just me. I have watched as the love of Christ has saved many others through you as well.


    Yes, this year will be different. 

    Yes, there is uncertainty surrounding the Corona virus Pandemic.

    But be clear, there is no uncertainty in the Love of our Almighty God!


    Last Sunday, Mother Jo reminded us that we are all children of God. We are family. And family takes care of one another. 


    As we move through this Holy Week in the midst of a health pandemic, join us online. 

    Continue to pray for all. 

    Reach out to those in need with phone calls, FaceTime, and Zoom gatherings. 


    And please. Please. If your grief begins to feel heavy, call a deacon. Call a vestry member or a mental health professional. Call me. Call a friend. 

    Please – do not suffer alone. Please reach out.


    We love you. God loves you. 

    And soon, there will again be great rejoicing, and hugs for all!