Also known as Passion Sunday

Why ‘Passion’? The original meaning of the word is ‘suffering’. If you have compassion for someone, you share their suffering. This Sunday traditionally marks the beginning of ‘Passiontide’ when we remember Christ’s suffering, being tortured by the Roman soldiers then hung up on a cross to die. Many choirs sing the ‘St John Passion’ or the ‘St Matthew Passion’ by JS Bach, or one of numerous other similar compositions. In these the story of the trial and crucifixion is narrated with solo arias reflecting on the events, choruses representing the comments of bystanders, and chorales or hymns, originally for singing by the congregation. It’s a way of dwelling upon the events with a mixture of horror and adoration, leading perhaps to prayer.

In the North-East of England, Passion Sunday is sometimes known as ‘Carlin’ or ‘Carling’ Sunday, referring to a type of black or grey pea eaten on this day. Have you even come across this? The tradition appears to have no particular religious significance – see:

A prayer for Passion Sunday:

The Son of God took on human flesh, suffered and died a cruel death for us. Let us pray to God our Father, and place in his hands the suffering of the world. Amen.