Many of our regular readers will be familiar with Patrick Comerford’s blog which I link with some regularity. He is a priest in the Church of Ireland (Anglican), Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the University of Dublin (Trinity College Dublin) and a Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. He typically posts good series of devotionals and blog entries in Advent and Lent. I first discovered his blog through his Lenten poems series a few years ago.
While reviewing that Lenten poetry series in putting together my compilations of Holy Week poems and Good Friday poems, I came across a post he wrote in 2010 which gives an excellent overview of Holy Week history and observance from an Anglican perspective, I highly recommend it!
Here’s his section on Palm Sunday:
Sunday of Holy Week (Palm Sunday):
Holy Week begins with the Sixth and last Sunday in Lent, Palm Sunday, which recalls Christ’s Triumphant entry into Jerusalem of Christ on the Sunday before his Passion and death (see Matthew 21: 1-11; Mark 11: 1-11; Luke 19: 28-44; John 12: 12-19).
In many churches, Palm Sunday is marked by the distribution of palm leaves, often tied in the shape of crosses, and by dramatised readings of the Passion Narrative in one of the Four Gospels. In Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, on Sunday morning, we began with the Blessing of the Palms in the Cloister Garth, along with the Gospel reading (Luke 19: 28-40). Then, back inside the cathedral, instead of a sermon we had and a dramatised reading of the Passion Narrative (Luke 22: 14 – 23: 56) from the pulpit.
The Gospels tell us that, before entering Jerusalem, Christ was staying at Bethany and Bethphage. The Gospel according to Saint John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha.
While he was there, he sent two disciples to the neighbouring village to retrieve a donkey that was tied up but had never been ridden. Christ then rode the donkey into Jerusalem. As he rode into Jerusalem, the people lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down the small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalm 118: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 118: 26; Matthew 21: 9; Mark 11: 9; Luke 19: 38; John 12: 13).
On Palm Sunday, in many Anglican churches, palm fronds and palm substitutes – or sometimes substitutes, such as yew cuttings – are blessed outside the church, and the blessing is followed by a procession into the church. In some churches, children are given palms and then walk in procession around the inside of the church while the adults remain seated.
The palm leaves or palm crosses are often saved to be burned the following year to use as ashes used on Ash Wednesday.
The liturgical colour has changed from violet to red, indicating the supreme redemptive sacrifice Christ was entering into as he entered the city of his Passion and Resurrection.
The Collect of the Day:
Almighty and everlasting God,
who, in your tender love towards the human race,
sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
Grant that we may follow the example
of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Post-Communion Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ,
you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant
and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation.
Give us the mind to follow you
and to proclaim you as Lord and King,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Go read the full entry. There are entries for each day of the week including the readings, and the daily collects (prayers).