We celebrate this first day of Holy Week by focusing on both the glory and the passion of Christ, represented at the outset by the palms and joyful songs signifying Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, then turning to the somber events of desolation and abandonment surrounding his suffering and death. During the latter portion of the service devoted to Christ’s passion, we engage in the “stripping of the sanctuary,” a practice dating from the seventh century. In silence, all liturgical and decorative objects including the Bible, the paraments, candles, and pastors’ stoles, are removed, and the pulpit and font are covered in black cloth. We hear the drama of the passion and death of our Lord in Scripture and music as well as seeing it physically in our sacred space of worship. The church remains bare, in silence and desolation, until the joyful dawn of Easter.