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Burning Palms for Ash Wednesday

On Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry in to Jerusalem. We wave palms and hold our palm crosses as we sing, “All glory, laud, and honor to thee, Redeemer, King!” In short order the service moves from the glorious announcement of a new king to the betrayal and murder of Jesus on the cross. That is a hard moment, when the chants turn from glory to calls for death. The season of Lent challenges us to face that within us that would reject love and life as we recommit ourselves to the way of Jesus.

Many of us keep our blessed palm crosses or palm fronds through the year as a reminder of the Passion. One ancient tradition is to burn the palms from the previous year to make the ashes we will use to smudge a cross on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the day we begin the 40 days of penitence and preparation for Easter.

If you have kept your palm cross or frond, now is the time to bring it in. We will place a basket in the parish hall clearly marked for you to place your dried palms. On the last Sunday after the Epiphany, February 26, we will burn the palms at the end of the second service in a short ritual at the columbarium chapel.

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