Holy Week: The Triumph and the Tragedy


HOLY WEEK: THE TRIUMPH AND THE TRAGEDY is the title of the sermon for this coming Palm/Passion Sunday. At first glance it looks like I’ve got the title of the sermon backwards. Should it be “The Tragedy and The Triumph?” After all, the good news should always come after the bad news. Right? Well, not always! That’s why we call it “Palm/Passion Sunday” and not “Passion/Palm Sunday.” It’s a reminder that the first Holy Week started in triumph with Jesus riding triumphantly into Jerusalem as the crowds shouted <b"Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in the highest heaven." That week ended with this same One, dying on the cross after these same people shouted “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.”

It seems that Holy Week and especially Good Friday doesn’t fit into our neat little thought processes of saying “good always wins out in the end.” “The triumph and the tragedy, Palm Sunday, Good Friday …This is the ultimate parable that “Life happens.”

The great news is that Good Friday is not the end of Holy Week. For Holy Week, we include the Sunday of the next week that we call Easter.

In a Peanuts cartoon, Charlie Brown and Linus are standing next to each other, staring at a star-filled sky. “Would you like to see a falling star?” Charlie Brown asks Linus.”Sure…” Linus responds. “Then again, I don’t know,” he adds, after some thought. “I’d hate to have it fall just on my account.” In the bookParables of Peanuts, Robert Short uses this cartoon to make the point that a star did fall on our account. God came down to us as Jesus: like a lamb led to slaughter, He died on our account. What humility! What love! However, that Star also rose on Easter morning so that no matter what tragedy may come behind the triumphs of our lives, … in the end we win! As we observe Holy Week starting this “Palm/Passion Sunday,” we do so knowing there is a resurrection of Hope and Triumph coming after Good Friday. It’s called “Easter!”

Join us on this Palm/Passion Sunday for worship. We will be waving the Palms and I will be preaching a sermon on “Holy Week: The Triumph and The Tragedy” as we prepare for Easter. The scriptural text for this sermon is Isaiah 50:4-9a and Matthew 21:1-11.


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