March 24, 2013 Palm Sunday / Sunday of the Passion | The Community
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March 24, 2013 Palm Sunday / Sunday of the Passion

This week’s readings

The drama begins this Sunday in the most liturgically intense period of our year, Holy Week.

One of the difficult themes of Palm Sunday and throughout this week is of Jesus’ suffering. I wonder how you preach about this? On one hand the epistles, like this Sunday’s from Philippians, glorify Jesus’ suffering and death as necessary for salvation and as something to be imitated. Our reading from Isaiah goes further, where we can’t help but imagine Jesus turning the cheek and accepting the violence being thrown at him.

The myth of redemptive violence is helpful on a global level. First articulated by Rene Girard, the myth of redemptive violence says the only way to conquer chaos is to escalate violence until someone dies. This person is merely a scapegoat for all the violence and chaos in society. The chaos is stemmed, for a time, until something else happens to escalate the chaos again. Jesus broke the myth of redemptive violence when, instead of death and violence, God chose resurrection and creation.

But is that helpful to those who are sitting in our pews this Sunday, suffering, hearing Christ’s suffering being glorified? How do deal with the theme of suffering through this week? What other themes are you focussing on this Sunday?

Dawn Leger

About Dawn Leger

I am a priest in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, having served in Stouffville, Ontario. I think preaching is a profound and great privilege granted to us by God and our Church. I love the reading, the writing, the proclaiming, the dissecting and the dialogue. I also love to cook, sing, read and laugh, in no particular order.

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5 Responses to March 24, 2013 Palm Sunday / Sunday of the Passion

  1. Could you please  clarify what you mean about “the myth of redemptive violence” in relation to the death of Jesus .Salvation it self is the fact that we are saved by God from the wrath of God .the violence that he received at the hands of man could not compare to the wrath he received from God the father.

  2. Sharon Harding

    Is it Christ’s suffering that is being glorified in the Philippians passage? Isn’t it more his obedience and humility? Jesus was following God’s agenda, even if it took him to the cross.

    A couple of thoughts. When I am suffering, I find it comforting to know that Jesus is able to identify with me in my pain. This means I can come to Jesus knowing that he understands completely, because he has been in that place of suffering.

    When we look at what happened to Jesus we can also find the assurance that although  he suffered terribly, and it looked as if evil had won, God’s love was triumphant in the end. That is the hope when I’m struggling.

  3. Dawn Leger

    @tonyh16 I confess I do not explain this myth well. It makes more sense in my head. Walter Wink, on the other hand, does a much better job:

    The myth is relevant to the cross because God broke into our destructive pattern by entering into history, submitting and not fighting, and ended the violent chaos with life, creation and resurrection, not death.


  4. I read Water Winks explanation and I can’t say I agree with him.We seem to forget about Gods holiness and his justice,neither can be ignored without  in some way demeaning God. Both are satisfied on the cross. All mans sin had to be paid for.There is a great line in a hymn called “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”  it says “O blessed shelter from the storm ,The sinners sure retreat O trysting-place where heaven’s love and heaven’s justice meet!”

  5. Dawn Leger

    A lot happened on the cross, death itself was overthrown.

    What are others preaching this Sunday?

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